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Monument of the Herbei-t family in the parish church at Mont- 
gomery, Wales. 


George [E^erbert 











NO. J^O • 








Monument in Montgomery Church fbontispibc'e 

Court of Trinity College page 4 

Exterior of Leighton Church 70 

Interior op Leighton Church 116 

Edingdon Church 198 



HERE are grouped the most serious studies of 
Herbert's Cambridge days, studies of the 
natures of God and man, and of the possible rela- 
tions between the two. A similar set, though longer 
and of profounder import, was written at Bemer- 
ton, and appears later as Group IX. The poems of 
these two Groups have an abstract and impersonal 
character distinguishing them from the rest of the 
work of this singularly personal writer. In them 
Herbert's favorite pronoun, 7, rarely appears; 
though of course these, no less than the others, 
study the approaches of God and the individual 

The arrangement is as follows : After a few 
verses reproducing something of the sententious 
wisdom of The Chuech-Porch comes the com- 
pact poem on Man, a favorite with R. W. Emer- 
son and with all readers who love penetrative 
thought and daring phrase. The World depicts 
the construction of Man as clumsily managed 
by himself. To it succeed discussions of Sinne, 
Faith, and Redemption, themes seldom absent 
from Herbert's mind. And then comes a series of 


what is almost as frequent with him, reflections 
on human changeableness ; the whole naturally 
concluding with some young man's verse about 
Death and the life beyond. 

Court of Trinity College, Camlrridge, where Herbert was in resi- 
dence, 1610- 



Introductory : 

"That which worketh strongly on the imagination 
we call a charm, and that which requires some 
difficulty to resolve we call a knot:*' G. Ryley. — 
This poem was translated into Latin in 1678 by 
William Dillingham with the title, Gryphi. 


Found in W. Similar in style to The Church- 


Gain and loss are not to be had where we in our 
folly expect them. 

Notes : 

1. Proverbs vi, 22. 

8. Rod=ihe riding-stick, with which the rider guides 
his horse and defends himself. To direct life as if 
one were poor insures both success and security. 
5. Proverbs xi, 24. On alms-giving, see The Church- 
Porch, III, 59, 1. 373-384. Cf. Jacula Pruden- 
tum : Giving much to the 'poor doth enrich a man's 
8. The Psalmist says (Psalm cxxxix, 12) that with 
God's blessing tl^e night shineth as the day. Her- 
bert states the converse: deprived of God's bless- 
ing, the day darkens as the night. 



Who reade a chapter when they rise, 
Shall ne're be troubled with ill eyes. 

A poore man's rod, when thou dost ride, 
Is both a weapon and a guide. 

Who shuts his hand, hath lost his gold; 
Who opens it, hath it twice told. 

Who goes to bed and doth not pray, 
Maketh two nights to ev'ry day. 


9. In The Country Parson, XXXVII, Herbert 
discusses the rights and wrongs involved in speak- 
ing of the faults of others. 
10. Proverbs x, 18. He that throws a stone at another 
hits himself e : The Country Parson, XXVIII. 

14. The powder ignores that out of which it is made. 
To perfume ourselves and stake our success in 
glory or love on accessory splendor is to make noble 
matters wait on ignoble. 

15. No loss can come through deducting the parson's 
tithe from the income. Cf. The Church-Porch, 
III, 59, 1. 386, and Proverbs iii, 9, 10. A writer in 
Notes and Queries, IV, i, 305, thinks that besides 
the manifest meaning there are other intricacies 
here, and that Herbert is engaging in his customary 
play. He writes: "The cipher or circle is a char- 
acter signifying ten; the figure placed before it, 
whether 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5, simply denotes the number 
of tens; thus 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, one ten, two tens, 
three tens, four tens, five tens; so that if you take 
one from ten the is left, signifying 10 still." 

16. One of the two cases in Herbert where still may 
have our sense of notwithstanding. 

18. Cf. The Church-Porch, III, 17, 1. 25. 


Who by aspersions throw a stone 

At th' head of others, hit their own. 10 

Who looks on ground with humble eyes, 
Findes himself there, and seeks to rise. 

When th' hair is sweet through pride or lust, 
The powder doth forget the dust. 

Take one from ten, and what remains ? 15 
Ten still, if sermons go for gains. 

In shallow waters heav'n doth show; 
But who drinks on, to hell may go. 

10 MAN 


Found in W. 

Unique. The system of rhyming used in each 

stanza is also unique (except in ii and viii), thus 

conveying a feeling of complexity suitable to the 


Man as everything and more. Psalm cxxxix, 14. 

The same thought is developed in Providence, 

V, 79, 1. 9-28. 
Notes : 

1. Similar opening to Affliction, IV. 43. — On 
heard Dr. Grosart has the amusing note: "Prob- 
ably in some sermon by one of his eurates." 

2. The thought appears again in The World, IV, 21, 

5-6. May mean that for the purpose of sustaining man 
all else is properly destroyed, e. g. animals, vege- 
tables, fruits. Or, better perhaps as linking with 
the following lines, that compared with this crea- 
ture all other things must be conceived as unde- 
veloped and chaotic. 




My God, I heard this day 
That none doth build a stately habitation 
But he that means to dwell therein. 
What house more stately hath there been, 
Or can be, then is Man ? To whose creation 
All things are in decay. 6 

12 MAN 

7. The doctrine here announced was common dur- 
ing the Middle Ages. Mayor, in his Life of Ferrar, 
p. 240, cites many passages, e. g. : Propter hoc 
homo dicitur minor mundus, quia omnes creaturae 
mundi quodammodo inveniuntur in eo : Aquinas, 
Summa, 1, qu. 91, art. 1, § 4. Est autem praeter 
tres quos narravimus quartus alius mundus, in 
quo et ea omnia inveniuntur quae sunt in reliquis; 
hie ipse est homo, qui et propterea, ut Catholici 
dicunt doctores, in evangelio omnis creaturae ap- 
pelatione censetur: Joann. Pic. Mirandul. Praef. 
in Heptap. 8. Cf. also The Pulley, V, 149, 
1. 4. Donne's verses to Lord Herbert of Cherbury 
begin, "Man is a lump where all beasts kneaded 

8. The reading of W. has suggested that no of B. and 
ed. 1633 is a misprint for wo, at that time a com- 
mon form for more. That man is more than 
everything would then be confirmed by instances 
of tree, beast, and bird. But on the whole, I be- 
lieve that B. represents a later stage of Herbert's 
thought than W., and that he altered more to no 
deliberately. Man does not attain the fruitfulness 
he should possess. In the next line it is hinted 
that he also fails in his appropriate superiority to 
the beast. Elsewhere Herbert laments that man 
falls short of the fruitful tree : Employment, IH, 
105, 1. 21; and Affliction, IV, 141, 1. 57. 


For Man is ev'ry thing, 
And more. He is a tree, yet bears no fruit; 
A beast, yet is, or should be more; 
Reason and speech we onely bring. 10 

Parrats may thank us if they are not mute, 
They go upon the score. 

Man is all symmetric, 
Full of proportions, one limbe to another. 
And all to all the world besides. 15 

Each part may call the farthest, brother; 
For head with foot hath private amitie. 
And both with moons and tides. 

14 MAN 

10-11. The emphatic words are loe and us; the thought 
being, — Though we possess all that the beast has, 
we, and we only, overtop him in possession of 
speech. And if it seems that the parrot, too, is capa- 
ble of speech, it must be remembered that he can 
merely imitate what is set him, and is thus indebted 
to man for his words. 

18. That the moon greatly influences human affairs, 
as it evidently does the tides, has been widely be- 
lieved. Because excited and quiescent periods of 
nervous disease are thought to attend its phases, 
insanity is called lunacy. That it is unlucky to see 
the new moon over the left shoulder, or to cut the 
hair on a waning moon ; that the child conceived 
in the first quarter of the moon will be a boy, in the 
last a girl ; that it is well to begin all undertakings 
at the new moon, —r these and many other popu- 
lar superstitions express the 'private amitie which 
is thought to obtain between the moon and man. 
The several parts of man have also special cor- 
respondences. When the moon is moving through 
the zodiacal sign of the Fish, it peculiarly affects 
the human feet. Cf. Chaucer's Treatise of the 
Astrolabe, I, § 21. 

21. Dismount =hTmg down to earth. 

23. A similar turn of thought is in The Priesthood, 
IV, 171, 1. 19-24. In The Country Parson, XXIII, 
Herbert recommends the Parson to know what kerbs 
may be used in stead of drugs of the same nature, 


Nothing hath got so farre 
But Man hath caught and kept it as his prey. 20 
His eyes dismount the highest starre. 
He is in Uttle all the sphere. 
Herbs gladly cure our flesh, because that they 
Finde their acquaintance there. 

For us the windes do blow, 25 

The earth doth rest, heav'n move, and fountains 
Nothing we see but means our good. 
As our delight, or as our treasure; 
The whole is either our cupboard of food 

Or cabinet of pleasure. 30 

16 MAN 

and to make the garden the shop. For home-bred 
medicines are both more easie for the Parson's purse, 
and more familiar for all men's bodyes. G. Ryley 
writes: "A salve or medicine made of herbs and 
applied to any sore, if proper to it, has particles in 
it of the same figure with those of the flesh to which 
it is applied; and these adhering to those are 
converted into the same substance with the flesh, 
and so make up the breaches which occasioned the 

26. The four elements are here intended. Herbert 
accepts the Ptolemaic astronomy, with the earth at 
the centre. So The Temper, IV, 109, 1. 14. 

29. So Providence, V, 83, 1. 49. 

33. Music, i. e. of the birds. 

34-36. Things show their kinship (1. 24) and helpfulness 
to our bodies through waiting on us here; to our 
minds, through their purpose and origin. 

39. S. T. Coleridge suggested that distinguished might 
mean "marked with an island." Dr. Willmott of- 
fers a better interpretation drawn from Genesis i, 
9-10: "The 'waters distinguished' are the waters 
separated from the dry land, which then appears 
and becomes the habitation of man. The 'waters 
united* [cf. Providence, V, 91, 1. 114] are the 
gathering together of the waters, which God called 
seas. Below, they are our fountains to drink, above, 
they are our meat, because ' the husbandman wait- 
eth for the early and the latter rain.' Both are our 


The starres have us to bed; 
Night draws the curtain, which the sunne with- 
draws ; 
Musick and light attend our head. 
All things unto our flesh are kinde 
In their descent and being; to our minde 35 

In their ascent and cause. 

Each thing is full of dutie: 
Waters united are our navigation; 
Distinguished, our habitation; 
Below, our drink; above, our meat; 40 

Both are our cleanlinesse. Hath one such beautie ? 
Then how are all things neat ? 

18 MAN 

42. Then how subtly complete is all! So The Fami- 
LiE, V, 185, 1. 8. 

43. So Donne, Holy Sonnets, XII, 1: "Why are we 
by all creatures waited on?" And Giles Fletcher, 
Christ's Triumph after Death, stanza xxvi: 

"Gaze but upon the house where Man embow'rs; 
With flow'rs and rushes paved is his way, 
Where aU the Creatures are his Servitours; 
The windes do sweep his chambers every day. 
And clouds do wash his rooms; the seeling gay 
Starred aloft, the gilded knobs embrave; 
If such a house God to another gave. 
How shine those ghttering courts he for himself will have ? " 

48. Thy hands both made lis, and also made us Lords of 
all thy creatures ; giving us one world in ourselves^ 
and another to serve us : The Country Parson's 
Prayer Before Sermon. 


More servants wait on Man 
Then he'l take notice of; in ev'ry path 44 

He treads down that which doth befriend him 
When sicknesse makes him pale and wan. 
Oh mightie love! Man is one world, and hath 
Another to attend him. 

Since then, my God, thou hast 
So brave a Palace built, O dwell in it, 50 

That it may dwell with thee at last! 
Till then ajfford us so much wit 
That as the world Serves us we may serve thee. 
And both thy servants be. 



Found in W. 

Subject : 

The lords of life are, Love, Wisdom, Law, Grace, 

and Glory. Fortune, Pleasure, Sin, and Death have 

but momentary power. 
Notes : 

1. Love = divine love. Cf. Love, III, 83, 1. 1, and 

Man, IV, 11, 1. 4 and 5. 

5. The fool says there is no God, fancying that our 
foundation and preservation are due to fortune. 
But such defacement of our stately house is brushed 
away by Wisdom. 

6. Pleasure seeks to build the world over for her pur- 

7. Balcones. Since about 1825 the accent has been 
drawn back to the first syllable. So Tennyson, 
Mariana in the South, 1. 88, and Shelley, Cenci, 
IV. 1. 3, 47. But Cowper, John Gilpin, 1. 142, still 
accents like Herbert, on the second syllable. 



Love built a stately house; where Fortune came, 

And spinning phansies she was heard to say 
That her fine cobwebs did support the frame, 
Whereas they were supported by the same. 
But Wisdome quickly swept them all away. 6 

Then Pleasure came, who Hking not the fashion, 

Began to make Balcones, Terraces, 
Till she had weakned all by alteration; 
But rev'rend laws and many a proclamation 

Reformed all at length with menaces. 10 


11. The sycamore — perhaps through a false ety- 
mology — was often confused with the fig-tree; and 
this in Greek opinion was early identified with 
the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gene- 
sis iii, 3-7) which tempted Adam and Eve to sin. 
With fig leaves they tried to shield themselves. 

13. Working and winding. The same combination in 
Jordan, III, 93, 1. 13; Businesse, V, 139, 1. 9; 
Confession, VI, 19, 1. 8. A vine or tree getting 
a lodgment in the foundations of a house, and 
then increasing in size, presses against the walls 
and timbers and throws them out of position. 

14. Sommers (Ft. sommiers), the principal beams or 
girders of a house. So Wotton's Remains, p. 11: 
"Oak may be better trusted for summers, girding 
or binding beams, as they term them." 

15. (S/fcor'd= propped, supported. — These = the walls. 
— That =i]ie sycamore. 


Then entered Sinne, and with that Sycomore, 
Whose leaves first sheltred man from drought 
and dew. 
Working and winding slily evermore, 13 

The inward walls and Sommers cleft and tore; 
But Grace shor'd these, and cut that as it grew. 

Then Sinne combin'd with Death in a firm band 
To rase the building to the very floore; 

Which they effected, none could them withstand. 

But Love and Grace took Glorie by the hand 
And built a braver Palace then before. 20 


Date : 

Found in W. 

Metre : 


Subject : 

The hideousness of sin. 

Notes : 

6. Than to allow us to see a sin, 1. 1. 
10. Perspective— a, combination of glasses which, like 
our kaleidoscope, by an illusion give order and 
wholeness to objects in themselves detached and 
fragmentary. In a letter (1650) to Davenant, 
prefixed to his poem Gondibert, Hobbes de- 
scribes the instrument : " You have seen a curious 
kind of perspective where he that looks through 
a short hollow pipe upon a picture containing 
divers figures sees none of those that are there 
painted, but some one person made up of their 
parts, conveyed to the eye by the artificial cutting 
of a glass." So Shakespeare, Richard II, ii, 2: 

"Like perspectives, which, rightly gazed upon, 
Show nothing but confusion; eyed awry, 
Distinguish form." 

The meaning is : A man in his senses (1. 8) cannot 
look straight at sin. It is chaotic and lacks being 
(1. 5). Death itself we view only as a picture in a 
dream. So sin can be seen but indirectly and where 
there is some good (1. S), i. e. in devils, where our 
sins are personified and given unity. 



O THAT I could a sinne once see! 
We paint the devil foul, yet he 
Hath some good in him, all agree. 
Sinne is flat opposite to th' Almighty, seeing 
It wants the good of vertue and of heing. 5 

But God more care of us hath had: 

If apparitions make us sad. 

By sight of sinne we should grow mad. 

Yet as in sleep we see foul death and live; 

So devils are our sinnes in perspective. 10 


Introductory : 

*A sonnet equally admirable for the weight, num- 
ber, and expression of the thoughts, and for the 
simple dignity of the language:" S. T. Coleridge, 
Biog. Lit. XIX. 


Found in W. 

Metre : 

Of seventeen sonnets, six — like this — are in the 
Shakespearian form. 

Subject : 

The abundant dissuasions from sin. Cf. The 
Church-Porch, III, 67, 1. 450, and R. W. Emer- 
son's Grace. In the first quatrain our protec- 
tions are chiefly those which arise from human 
guardianship; in the second, from divine appoint- 
ment; and in the third, from the social sanction. 

Notes : 

3. T hey = the schoolmasters, after having taught us 
the nature of law. 

5. Dogging. The word occurs again in The Church 
Militant, VI, 139, 1. 260. 

6. Sorted= every variety of. 

9. Not only are pains awarded to sin, but joy to 
righteousness. ^ 

11. Our shame, i. e. the disgrace which sin causes. 
13. Isaiah v, 1 and 2. 



Lord, with what care hast thou begirt us round! 

Parents first season us; then schoolmasters 
DeHver us to laws; they send us bound 

To rules of reason, holy messengers, 
Pulpits and sundayes, sorrow dogging sinne, 5 

Afflictions sorted, anguish of all sizes. 
Fine nets and strategems to catch us in. 

Bibles laid open, millions of surprises. 
Blessings beforehand, tyes of gratefulnesse. 

The sound of glorie ringing in our eares; 10 
Without, our shame; within, our consciences; 

Angels and grace, eternall hopes and fears. 
Yet all these fences and their whole aray 
One cunning bosome-sinne blows quite away. 



Found in W. 
Metre : 

Used also in The Reprisall, IV, 89. 

The substance of things hoped for. Hebrews xi, 1. 

6. The feast of the body and blood of Christ. John 

vi, 55. 

8. The welcome guest forms the subject of Love, 
IV, 197. 

9. Cf . An Offering, IV, 191, 1. 19. Possibly he is here 
thinking of the snake root, "a most certaine and 
present remedy against the venome of the rattle- 
snake : — * As soon as any is bitten by that creature, 
they take of this herbe and chew it in their mouthes 
and swallow downe the juice thereof, and also 
apply of the herbe to the wound or bitten place, 
which instantly cureth them : ' '* Parkinson, Theatr. 
Botan., quoted by Dr. Grosart. The allusion to 
protection against the snake is rendered probable 
by 1. 11. The serpent of Genesis iii, 15, has "bruised 
his heel." 

12. Well neare==wel\ nigh. 

20. His glorie= the glory of the Second Adam, Ro- 
mans V, 12-21. 



Lord, how couldst thou so much appease 
Thy wrath for sinne, as when man's sight was 

And could see Kttle, to regard his ease 
And bring by Faith all things to him ? 

Hungrie I was and had no meat. 5 

I did conceit a most delicious feast; 

I had it straight, and did as truly eat 
As ever did a welcome guest. 

There is a rare outlandish root 9 

Which, when I could not get, I thought it here; 

That apprehension cur'd so well my foot 
That I can walk to heav'n well neare. 

I owed thousands and much more. 
I did beleeve that I did nothing owe 

And hv'd accordingly; my creditor 15 

Beleeves so too, and lets me go. 

Faith makes me any thing, or all 
That I beleeve is in the sacred storie. 

And where sinne placeth me in Adam's fall. 
Faith sets me higher in his glorie. 20 


21. Lower f i. e. in contrast with the higher of the pre- 
vious Hne, and perhaps with suggestion of a time 
later than that of Adam. 

27. The meaning of this is expanded in the next stanza. 
Cf. also Praise, III, 95, 1. 11, and The Temper, 
IV, 113, 1. 13. 

32. Uneven nature, i. e. the inequalities of nature which 
divide the peasant from the scholar. 

34. As the rising sun imparts to objects whatever vis- 
ibility they possess, so is it the coming of Christ 
which has brought life and immortality to light. 

38. The strange expression 'pricking the eie occurs 
again in Frailtie, IV, 155, 1. 16. 

44. The resurrection of the body. 


If I go lower in the book, 
What can be lower then the common manger ? 

Faith puts me there with him who sweetly took 
Our flesh and frailtie, death and danger. 

If blisse had lien in art or strength, 25 

None but the wise or strong had gained it. 

Where now by Faith all arms are of a length; 
One size doth all conditions fit. 

A peasant may beleeve as much 29 

As a great Clerk, and reach the highest stature. 

Thus dost thou make proud knowledge bend 
and crouch 
While grace fills up uneven nature. 

When creatures had no reall light 
Inherent in them, thou didst make the sunne 

Impute a lustre and allow them bright, 35 

And in this shew what Christ hath done. 

That which before was darkned clean 
With bushie groves, pricking the looker's eie, 

Vanisht away when Faith did change the scene; 
And then appear'd a glorious skie. 40 

What though my bodie runne to dust ? 
Faith cleaves unto it, counting evr'y grain 

With an exact and most particular trust, 
Reserving all for flesh again. 


Introductory ; 

In W. this poem is entitled The Passion. 


Found in W. 


Of seventeen sonnets, eleven — like this — depart 
in the third quatrain from the Shakespearian form. 


Seeking for a new habitation, I found that he who 
must give it had already given it at his own cost. 

Notes : 

3. What is the suit ? Is it a petition to be released 
from the Law, and come under Grace according 
to the two covenants ? Galatians iv. 24. Or is it a 
request for one of the many mansions in Paradise ? 
Luke xxiii, 43. The figure of the tenant is again 
employed in Love Unknown, V, 179, 1. 4. 



Having been tenant long to a rich Lord, 
Not thriving, I resolved to be bold. 

And make a suit unto him to afford 

A new small-rented lease and cancell th' old. 

In heaven at his manour I him sought. 5 

They told me there that he was lately gone 

About some land which he had dearly bought 
Long since on earth, to take possession. 

I straight returned, and knowing his great birth, 
Sought him accordingly in great resorts, 10 

In cities, theatres, gardens, parks, and courts. 

At length I heard a ragged noise and mirth 
Of theeves and murderers ; there I him espied, 
Who straight, Your suit is granted, said, and died. 



This poem seems like a reminiscence of Donne*s 
The Will, especially of its second stanza. In one 
of the songs in the third Book of Sidney's Arcadia 
the beasts in similar fashion bring their special 
gifts to Jove. The dangers of division again ap- 
pear in Church-Rents and Schismes, V, 105. 


Found in W. 

Metre : 


Subject : 

Spiritual forces, attempting to control brutal ones, 
need harmony among themselves. The course of 
the quaint allegory is as follows : The united Virtues 
dominated the Evil Passions (the beasts) while 
guided by Humility. But when Pride awoke and 
bade each claim worldly splendor (the peacock's 
train) as proper to his place, the Evil Passions 
would have conquered them thus divided, had not 
Humility by her tears destroyed the lustre of what 
they desired and brought them once more to unity. 

Notes : 

2. Azure. The color blue regularly signifies wisdom. 
See note on The Bag, V, 157, 1. 15. Holy beings 
are again placed in several ranks in All Angels 
AND Saints, III, 163, 1. 1. 



I SAW the Vertues sitting hand in hand 

In sev'rall ranks upon an azure throne. 
Where all the beasts and fowls by their command 

Presented tokens of submission. 
Humihtie, who sat the lowest there 5 

To execute their call, 
When by the beasts the presents tendred were, 
Gave them about to all. 

The angrie Lion did present his paw, 9 

Which by consent was giv'n to Mansuetude. 
The fearfuU Hare her eares, which by their law 

HumiUtie did reach to Fortitude. 
The jealous Turkic brought his corall-chain ; 

That went to Temperance. 
On Justice was bestow'd the Foxes brain, 15 

Kiird in the way by chance. 


3. B easts =ihe passions (The Chubch-Porch, III, 45, 
1. 264) . Each passion is fitted to make a contribu- 
tion of real worth to some virtue, if accepted with 

10. Mansuetude= gentleness. Cf. The Church- 
Porch, III, 53, 1. 335. 

11. Their law =ih.e law of supplementation. 

13. By the corall-chain is intended the red flesh which 
hangs by the turkey's bill. As indicating jealousy 
it is put in charge of self-restraint. 

16. Accident baflBles wit. 

18. He=ihe peacock, who would not humble himself 
by bringing it. 

20. Each virtue felt itself supplemented by pride. 

23. If they had possessed the fox's brain, 1. 16. 

25. Humilitie, who held the plume, see 1. 8. Though it 
properly belonged to her, she is the only one ready 
to abandon it. 

29. Joyntly bandying =a,ccoT^ng to Dr. Willmott, con- 
tending together. But the connection would seem to 
call for the very opposite meaning, something like 
composing differences, making bandying equivalent 
to banding together (Fr. se bander) , as, indeed, it is 
spelled in B. Herbert uses the word again, possibly 
with this same meaning, in The Answer, IV, 147, 
L 3. Shakespeare has it in Romeo and Juliet, iii, 
1: "The prince expressly hath forbidden bandying 
in Verona Streets." 


At length the Crow bringing the Peacock's plume, 
(For he would not,) as they beheld the grace 
Of that brave gift, each one began to fume, 

And challenge it as proper to his place, 20 

Till they fell out; which when the beasts espied, 

They leapt upon the throne; 
And if the Fox had Uv'd to rule their side. 
They had depos'd each one. 

Humilitie, who held the plume, at this 25 

Did weep so fast that the tears trickhng down 
Spoil'd all the train; then saying, Here it is 
For which ye wrangle, made them turn their 
Against the beasts. So joyntly bandying. 

They drive them soon away, 30 
And then amerc'd them double gifts to bring 
At the next Session-day. 



Found in W. 
Metre : 

Unique. The rhyming system — as in Prater, 

III, 183 — changes in the final stanza. 

The gifts of God, expressive of himself and de- 
signed to draw us to Him, are met by no answering 
Notes : 

7. Cabinets have already been mentioned twice : To 
All Angels and Saints, HI, 163, 1. 14, and Man, 

IV, 15, 1. 30. 

18. " This may be by way of miraculous contrast with 
the ordinary effect of dust blown into the eyes; 
but it may refer to the blowing of powders, sugar 
of lead, sugar, etc., into the eyes of horses and dogs, 
when their eyes are dimmed by a film or partial 
opacity:" A. B. Grosart. The same figure appears 
in Love, III, 85, 1. 24, and in Frailtie, IV, 155, 
I. 15. 



Lord, with what bountie and rare clemencie 
Hast thou redeem'd us from the grave! 
If thou hadst let us runne. 
Gladly had man ador'd the sunne, 
And thought his god most brave; 5 

Where now we shall be better gods then he. 

Thou hast but two rare cabinets full of treasure, 
The Trinitie and Incarnation. 

Thou hast unlockt them both, 
And made them jewels to betroth 10 
The work of thy creation 
Unto thy self in everlasting pleasure. 

The statelier cabinet is the Trinitie, 

Whose sparkling Hght accesse denies. 

Therefore thou dost not show 15 

This fully to us till death blow 
The dust into our eyes; 
For by that powder thou wilt make us see. 


19. Spring is called a box where sweets compacted lie, 

in Vertue, VI, 97, 1. 10. 
23. This box= the Incarnation, i. e. Christ's body; cf. 

26. Proverbs xxiii, 26. 

29. Cf. Confession, VI, 19, 1. 2-5. 

30. The Trinitie and the Incarnation are given for a 
mere heart. 


But all thy sweets are packt up in the other, 
Thy mercies thither flock and flow; 20 

That as the first affrights, 
This may allure us with delights. 
Because this box we know. 
For we have all of us just such another. 

But man is close, reserv'd, and dark to thee. 25 
When thou demandest but a heart. 
He cavils instantly. 
In his poore cabinet of bone 
Sinnes have their box apart. 
Defrauding thee, who gavest two for one. 30 


Introductory : 

Four other poems with this title are given, IV, 135, 
VI, 29, 31, 33. This poem may be regarded as 
a preliminary sketch for the great Affliction of 
IV, 135. 


Found in W. 


Used also in Assurance, V, 225. 


Support in affliction. In the first stanza, Noah's 
Ark, with its seeming instability guarded by God, 
is taken as a type of the Christian, whose disturbed 
yet steadfast existence is then described. 

Notes : 
2. Plantedy Genesis ii, 8. 

7. So stanzas iii and iv of Affliction, IV, 135. The 
rhyme occurs again in Church-Musick, III, 199, 

1. 1. 

12. As we at first tasted of thy joys, so now dost thou 
of our griefs. 



My God, I read this day 
That planted Paradise was not so firm 

As was and is thy floting Ark; whose stay 
And anchor thou art onely, to confirm 

And strengthen it in ev'ry age, 5 

When waves do rise and tempests rage. 

At first we Kv'd in pleasure, 
Thine own delights thou didst to us impart. 
When we grew wanton, thou didst use dis- 
To make us thine; yet that we might not part. 
As we at first did board with thee, 11 

Now thou wouldst taste our miserie. 


15. Is the emphasis on our, and does the line mean that 
joys are for angels, griefs for us? Or should we 
emphasize relief and mean that certain messengers 
of God have brought us joy; but that when de- 
liverance from sin is needed, grief comes? Line 
14 hints at the latter; line 19, and perhaps Praise, 
V, 47, 1. 21, at the former. 

17. The bait of pleasure appears again in The Church- 
Porch, III, 15, 1. 4. Cf. Affliction, IV, 135, 
1. 4-7. 

21. Cf. the daintie bowre made in the tree of Miserie, 
IV, 51, 1. 55. 

22. (S<ore= luxuriance; cf. Providence, V, 89, 1. 95. 
24. The bow, an object ordinarily threatening, appears 

in bright colors after a storm as a thing of delight. 
It is here suggested by the Ark (1. 3). The rain- 
bow is again mentioned in The Church-Porch, 
III, 51, 1. 317 ; Peace, IV, 173, 1. 7 ; The Bag, V, 
157, 1. 14. 


There is but joy and grief; 
If either will convert us, we are thine. 

Some Angels us'd the first; if our relief 15 

Take up the second, then thy double line 
And sev'rall baits in either kinde 
Furnish thy table to thy minde. 

Affliction then is ours. 19 

We are the trees whom shaking fastens more, 
While blustring windes destroy the wanton 
And ruffle all their curious knots and store. 
My God, so temper joy and wo 
That thy bright beams may tame thy bow. 


Introductory : 

In W. this poem is entitled The Publican. It has 

been imitated by Vaughan in his Misery. 
Date : 

Found in W. 


Obstinate bhndness the chief mark of man's 

wretched condition. 
Notes : 

6. Cf. 1 Corinthians xv, 32. 
16. The Psalmist knew that God was about his bed 

(Psalm cxxxix, 8). Not so the man of to-day. 
18. There is not even a moth-hole to be looked through, 

says the sinner. 



Lord, let the Angels praise thy name. 
Man is a foolish thing, a foolish thing, 
Folly and Sinne play all his game. 
His house still bums, and yet he still doth sing, 
Man is hut grasse, 5 

He knows it, fill the glasse. 

How canst thou brook his foolishnesse ? 
Why he'l not lose a cup of drink for thee. 

"Bid him but temper his excesse, 9 

Not he; he knows where he can better be. 
As he will swear. 
Then to serve thee in fear. 

What strange pollutions doth he wed. 
And make his own! As if none knew but he. 

No man shall beat into his head 15 

That thou within his curtains drawn canst see. 
They are of cloth. 
Where never yet came moth. 


22. In The Church-Porch, III, 21, 1. 66, he speaks 
of the time when griefs make us tame. ' 

28. The mention in 1. 26 of the covenant of baptism 
suggests the figure of the dove to indicate the work 
of the Holy Spirit. Besides this use of the dove as a 
sign of the Holy Spirit, Herbert also employs it as 
the bird of Venus; The Invitation, V, 51, 1. 26. 

33. Cf. Whitsunday, HI, 159, 1. 14. 

^5. Infection here = a plague-spotted thing; not the 
plague itself, as in The Church-Porch, HI, 43, 
1, 249. The plague was at this time so constant and 
serious a menace as to be ever present in men's 
minds. The plague of 1603 carried off 30,000 per- 
sons; that of 1625 as many; that of 1636 somewhat 


The best of men, turn but thy hand 
For one poore minute, stumble at a pinne. 20 

They would not have their actions scanned. 
Nor any sorrow tell them that they sinne. 
Though it be small. 
And measure not their fall. 24 

They quarrell thee, and would give over 
The bargain made to serve thee; but thy love 

Holds them unto it and doth cover 
Their follies with the wing of thy niilde Dove, 
Not suff'ring those 
Who would, to be thy foes. 30 

My God, Man cannot praise thy name. 
Thou art all brightnesse, perfect puritie; 

The sunne holds down his head for shame. 
Dead with ecHpses, when we speak of thee. 

How shall infection 35 

Presume on thy perfection ? 

As dirtie hands foul all they touch, 
And those things most which are most pure and 
So oui clay hearts, ev'n when we crouch 
To sing thy praises, make them lesse divine. 40 
Yet either this 
Or none thy portion is. 


43-48. The miserable utterances of this stanza are 
supposed to be quoted from a despairing and 
reckless man. 

51. PulVst the rw^=drawest up the bed-clothes. 

52. Starres= golden glorious things. So The Church- 
Porch, III, 35, 1. 171, and Affliction, IV, 135, 

55. Bowre in Herbert, as in Milton, is a green shelter 
that is natural, not artificial. See Affliction, 
IV, 45, 1. 21. 

55-60. Cf . Providence, V, 79, 1. 9-12. 


Man cannot serve thee; let him go, 
And serve the swine. There, there is his dehght. 
He doth not Uke this vertue, no; 45 

Give him his dirt to wallow in all night. 
These Preachers make 
His head to shoot and ake. 

Oh f ooKsh man ! Where are thine eyes ? 
How hast thou lost them in a croud of cares ? 50 

Thou puU'st the rug and wilt not rise. 
No, not to purchase the whole pack of starres. 
There let them shine. 
Thou must go sleep or dine. 

The bird that sees a daintie bowre 55 

Made in the tree where she was wont to sit. 

Wonders and sings, but not his power 
Who made the arbour; this exceeds her wit. 
But Man doth know 
The spring whence all things flow : 60 


62. Winks = shuts its eyes. So The Collar, V, 213, 
1. 26; Acts xvii, 30. 

67. Treasure: so in The Church-Porch, III, 15, 1. 2. 

68. We ordinarily employ shop in the sense of a place 
of manufacture or sale. In the two places where 
Herbert uses it — here and in The Church-Porch, 
III, 31, 1. 141 — he gives it the meaning of a place 
of assemblage: as Shakespeare in Cymbehne, v, 
5, speaks of his lady as a "shop of all the qualities 
that man loves woman for." So Donne, Refusal 
to Allow, 1. 34, calls Frenchmen "shops of fashion." 

69. Posie : this word sometimes means a bunch of 
flowers, a bouquet, as in Life, VI, 81, 1. 1; and 
sometimes, as here, a sentiment, a motto. Cf. The 
Posie, V, 29. 

77. Shelf, — his own means of destruction. See The 
Church-Porch, III, 27, 1. 120. We still speak of 
a shelving shore. 


And yet, as though he knew it not, 
His knowledge winks and lets his humours reigne. 

They make his Ufe a constant blot. 
And all the bloud of God to run in vain. 

Ah wretch! What verse 65 

Can thy strange wayes rehearse ? 

Indeed at first Man was a treasure, 
A box of jewels, shop of rarities, 

A ring whose posie was. My pleasure. 
He was a garden in a Paradise. 70 

Glorie and grace 
Did crown his heart and face. 

But sinne hath fool'd him. Now he is 
A lump of flesh, without a foot or wing 

To raise him to the glimpse of blisse; 75 
A sick toss'd vessel, dashing on each thing; 
Nay, his own shelf; 
My God, I mean my self. 


Introductory : 

/ praise God that I am not to learn patience now 
I stand in such need of it, and that I have practiced 
Mortification and endeavored to die daily (l Corin- 
thians XV, 31) that I might live eternally: Walton's 
Life. We still employ the word in connection with 
wounds, in the sense of decay. 

Date : 

Found in W. 



Subject : 

Death in life. In the needs of our five ages — 
infancy, childhood, youth, manhood, age — are 
prefigured the needs of death, viz. a shroud, a 
grave, a bell, a coffin, and a bier. Cf. Southwell: 
Upon the Image of Death. 


2. Sweets, as usually with Herbert, for the smell. See 
Charms and Knots, IV, 9, 1. 13. 

3. Breath, death. This rhyme is kept in every stanza, 
enforcing the great antithesis and correspondence 
on which the whole poem turns. 

4. This Hue is borrowed from Donne's Elegy on the 
Lord Chancellor, 1.1: " Sorrow, who to this house 
scarce knew the way." 

5. Clouts =pieces of cloth. Jeremiah xxxviii, 11. 



How soon doth man decay! 
When clothes are taken from a chest of sweets 
To swaddle infants, whose young breath 

Scarce knows the way. 
Those clouts are Uttle winding sheets 5 

Which do consigne and send them unto death. 

When boyes go first to bed. 
They step into their voluntarie graves. 

Sleep bindes them fast; onely their breath 

Makes them not dead. 10 

Successive nights, like rolKng waves. 
Convey them quickly who are bound for death. 

When youth is frank and free. 
And calls for musick while his veins do swell, 
All day exchanging mirth and breath 15 

In companie. 
That musick summons to the knell 
Which shall befriend him at the house of death. 


8. Cf. Donne, Obsequies of Lord Harrington, 1. 17: 

"Labourers have 
Such rest in bed that their last churchyard grave, 
Subject to change, will scarce be a type of this." 

21. Our panting powers, pressed by the world, wel- 
come the restrictions of home. 

22. Training himself to attend only to what directly 
concerns him and his. Perhaps, too, there is a 
suggestion that in the home the offending eye — 
cf. Tflte Discharge, V, 187, 1. 3-5 — can most 
easily be plucked out. Matthew xviii, 9. Vaughan 
repeats the expression in his Miserie: 

" I school my eyes and strictly dwell 
Within the circle of my cell." 

24 . Attends = awaits. Cf . Jacula Prudentum : Good is 
to be sought out and evil attended. 

26. Marking =ohseTYing, looking toward. 

27. All=a\\ his powers. 


When man grows staid and wise, 
Getting a house and home where he may move 20 
, Within the circle of his breath, 

SchooKng his eyes. 
That dumbe inclosure maketh love 
Unto the coflfin that attends his death. 

When age grows low and weak, 25 

Marking his grave, and thawing ev'ry yeare. 
Till all do melt and drown his breath 

When he would speak, 
A chair or Utter shows the biere 29 

Which shall convey him to the house of death. 

Man ere he is aware 
Hath put together a solemnitie, 

And drest his herse while he has breath 

As yet to spare. 
Yet Lord, instruct us so to die 35 

That all these dyings may be life in death. 


Date : 

Found in W. • 

Metre : 

Subject : 

Grim death grows fair through Christ's accept- 
ing it. 
Notes : 
3. The groans of the last sickness. 
5. When we thought thus of thee, we were considering 
merely how we should appear a certain number 
of years after our death. 
9. This side =i}ie earthly side. 
11. Souls leaving this world are fledglings who have 
abandoned their bodily shells. Cf. Providence, 
V, 85, 1. 64. 



Death, thou wast once an uncouth hideous thing, 
Nothing but bones, 
The sad effect of sadder grones; 
Thy mouth was open but thou couldst not sing. 

For we considered thee as at some six 5 

Or ten yeares hence, 
After the losse of Hfe and sense. 
Flesh being turn'd to dust, and bones to sticks. 

We lookt on this side of thee, shooting short; 

Where we did finde 10 

The shells of fledge souls left behinde, 
Dry dust, which sheds no tears but may extort. 


12. Extort tears through grief and possibly through 
dust in the eyes, as in Dooms-Day, IV, 63, 1. 3 and 4. 
Herbert hates dust, and his eyes seem to have been 
peculiarly sensitive. Cf . Love, IH, 85, 1. 24 ; Faith, 
IV, 31, 1. 38; Ungratefulnesse, IV, 39, 1. 16, 17; 
Frailtie, IV, 155, 1. 16. 

13-16. For the thought, cf. Time, VI, 101, 1. 13-18. 

14. Cf. Chubch-Rents and Schismes, V, 107, 1. 13. 

18. In contrast to 1. 6. 

22. Our bodily half. 

24. Down or dusty corresponding with die as sleepy 
1. 21. 


But since our Saviour's death did put some bloud 
Into thy face, 
Thou art grown fair and full of grace, 15 
Much in request, much sought for as. a good. 

For we do now behold thee gay and glad, 
As at dooms-day; 
When souls shall wear their new aray. 
And all thy bones with beautie shall be clad. 

Therefore we can go die as sleep, and trust 21 
Half that we have 
Unto an honest faithfuU grave, 
Making our pillows either down or dust. 


Introductory : 

The common subject of sculpture over one of the 
western doors of a Cathedral is the rising from the 
dead, each member jogging the other. This Herbert 
must often have seen. 


Found in W. 




Gather quickly, O Lord, our members from the 
dust. ^ 

Notes : 

6. Cf. Man, IV, 13, 1. 16. 
12. The tarantula spider, common in the Mediterranean 
coast-lands, gets its name from Tarentum in Italy. 
Its bite was supposed to be deadly, the most prob- 
able escape being violent action, to which the fren- 
zied sufferer was already predisposed. Music was 
employed and a wild dance induced, a dance re- 
called in the modern tarentella. As a peculiar 
music heals this sting, so must the last trump give 
the only notes which can heal the sting of death. 
15. Oblige the graves to give up at once what they 
possess, or they may refuse altogether. 



Come away, 
Make no delay. 
Summon all the dust to rise, 
Till it stirre and rubbe the eyes, 
While this member jogs the other, 5 

Each one whispring. Live you brother? 

Come away. 
Make this the day. 
Dust, alas, no musick feels 
But thy trumpet, then it kneels; 10 

As pecuUar notes and strains 
Cure Tarantulaes raging pains. 

Come away, 
O make no stay! 
Let the graves make their confession, 15 
Lest at length they plead possession. 
Fleshes stubbornnesse may have 
Read that lesson to the grave. 


21-24. The body after death, turning to dust, is driven 
about by the wind, or turning to gases (cf. Con- 
tent, IV, 151, 1. 22), becomes a poison to the Hving. 
So the dead may be said to stray or be scattered. 

28. ParceVd owi=divided out, as in Love, III, 83, 1. 3. 
Vaughan has enlarged this in his Burial: 

"Thus cruimn*d I stray 
In blasts. 

Or exhalations and wasts. 
Beyond all eyes." 

29. C(m5ori{= concert. So Easter, III, 153, 1. 13, and 
Employment, IV, 145, 1. 23. 


Come away. 
Thy flock doth stray. 20 

Some to windes their bodie lend, 
And in them may drown a friend; 
Some in noisome vapours grow 
To a plague and publick wo. 

Come away, 25 

Help our decay. 
Man is out of order hurl'd, 
Parcel'd out to all the world. 
Lord, thy broken consort raise. 
And the musick shall be praise. 30 



Imitated by Vaughan in The Throne. 

Found in W. 

Unique, but differs only in rhyming system from 

the Discharge, V, 187. 

Safety is to be found not in my worth, but in thy 

Notes : 
5. The special record of each man's life. Revelation 

XX, 12. 
7. Heare was in 1674 printed here. 
13. Luke xxii, 20. Instead of the peculiar book of 1. 5. 



Almightie Judge, how shall poore wretches brook 
Thy dreadfuU look, 

Able a heart of iron to appall. 

When thou shalt call 
For ev'ry man's peculiar book ? 5 

What others mean to do, I know not well; 

Yet I heare tell. 
That some will turn thee to some leaves therein 

So void of sinne 
That they in merit shall excell. 10 

But I resolve, when thou shalt call for mine, 

That to decline. 
And thrust a Testament into thy hand; 

Let that be scann'd. 14 

There thou shalt finde my faults are thine. 



Echo-songs were common in the poetry before 

Herbert. Sidney has one in Book II of the Arcadia. 

Lord Herbert of Cherbury has four. 

Found in W. 


MortaKty has echoes of immortality. 

5. Leaves =isi\]ing, perishing things. But the echo 

declares that certain leaves are abiding. Are these 

the holy leaves of Scripture ? 
11. Revelation xxii, 2. Perhaps a play on holly, an 

13. Returning to the question of 1. 1. 



O WHO will show me those delights on high ? 

Echo. I. 

Thou Echo, thou art mortall, all men know. 

Echo, No, 4 

Wert thou not born among the trees and leaves ? 

Echo, Leaves, 

And are there any leaves that still abide ? 

Echo, Bide, 

What leaves are they ? Impart the matter wholly. 

Echo, Holy. 10 

Are holy leaves the Echo then of bKsse ? 

Echo, Yes, 

Then tell me, what is that supreme delight ? 

Echo, Light. 

Light to the minde; what shall the will enjoy ? 15 

Echo. Joy. 

But are there cares and businesse with the plea- 

Echo, Leisure. 

Light, joy, and leisure; but shall they persever ? 

Echo, Ever. 20 

Exterior of Leighton Churchy Huntingdonshire, rebuilt by Herbert 
and Ferrar. See Vol. I, p. 35. 



IN the poems to wMch I have ventured to give 
the title of The Inner Life we for the first 
time meet the poetic modes most characteristic of 
Herbert, modes which I have examined in the third 
Introductory Essay. Other poets before Herbert 
had written reflective verse, sagaciously instructing 
or meditating on the perplexing intricacy of divine 
and human things. Southwell, Ralegh, Donne, 
were Herbert's predecessors in such holy anatomy. 
Southwell largely and other men in single poems 
had celebrated the institutions of the Church, 
though conceiving them in no such personal way as 
Herbert. But the rehgious love-lyric, which begins 
with this Group and fills all the remainder except 
Group VIII, was developed by Herbert. Not that 
the type did not already exist in the Latin poetry of 
the Mediaeval Church. Poets, too, of France and 
Germany had again and again put tender com- 
munings with God into their vernacular speech. 
In England translations of the Psalms were com- 
mon, and Hymns — the average pious utterance of 
a multitude — were just coming into use. Nothing 
altogether new ever appears on earth. The most 
original writer creates his novelty out of what 
already exists. Yet by bringing tendencies to full 


expression he still genuinely produces. So Herbert 
produced a new species of English poetry, a species 
so common since his time and through his influence 
that we now forget that a Herbert was required 
for its production. 

The character of this new poetry, having been 
already and fully discussed, need here be only 
summarized. Herbert's immediate predecessors 
had developed the love-lyric to an exquisite and 
often artificial perfection. As the mediaeval painter 
found a set subject in the Madonna and Child, and 
to a subject not his own gave his personal stamp 
through small refinements of treatment, so did the 
Elizabethan and Jacobean poet find in the lan- 
guishing lover a subject set to his hand. That the 
poets themselves did sometimes veritably languish, 
no one will doubt. But whether instructed by expe- 
rience or engaged in exploiting a theme, they one 
and all bring before us the exalted lady with a 
heart colder than is nowadays customary, a heart 
which when once engaged is easily alienated, and 
of whose slightest favor the miserable lover knows 
himself to be perpetually unworthy. Through long 
sequences of lyrics — sonnets commonly, less fre- 
quently verse of looser structure — every stage is 
worked out in the slow approach of the undeserv- 
ing to the exalted one. To us moderns, who feel 
but sKghtly the impulse to imaginative construc- 
tion, such detailed exhibits of all the possible 
phases of longing, hope, and despair appear strange 


when presented by serious and middle-aged men. 
The intellectual fashions of one age are hard for 
another to comprehend. 

To Herbert these fashions were matters of 
course. From them he was able to deta,ch himself 
only suflSciently to condemn the objects loved, but 
not to change the methods of representing love 
itself. A Kterary artist through and through, 
rejoicing in refinements, feeUng no antagonism 
between cool study and vivid emotion, ever ready 
to note whatever shade of f eeKng a situation de- 
manded and to develop it from germs of his own, 
Herbert brings over into the reUgious field the 
heart-searchings, the sighs, and the self-accusa- 
tions which hitherto had belonged to secular love. 
Yet he is no trifler. Over-intellectualism is always 
his danger. He merely undertakes to treat as liter- 
ary material the deaKngs of God and his own heart; 
and in this new field of love he follows the beauti- 
ful shimmering methods which Shakespeare had 
taught him in his devotion to the lovely youth, or 
Spenser in his service of the nameless lady. During 
the interval, too, which parts the second Stuart 
from EHzabeth, the national temper had changed 
and grown profoundly introspective and grave. 
Herbert is contrasted with Breton and Campion as 
Browning with Burns. 

Grouped together here, then, — so far as these 
can be parted from the similarly minded verses of 
preceding sections, — are all the poems which 


Herbert wrote at Cambridge in which his changing 
moods of mind are studied and heightened for the 
purpose of reflecting vicissitudes in his love of 
God. Beginning with a few glad notes, he quickly 
perceives in The Thanksgiving and The Re- 
PRISALL how incompetent he is at his best to make 
gifts worthy of Him whom he adores. In The Sin- 
ner, Deniall, and Church-Lock and Key, he 
acknowledges that the failure of God to smile upon 
him is due to radical faults in himself; faults which 
in Nature and Repentance seem to connect 
themselves with specific acts of wrong-doing which 
in the Bemerton days the third stanza of The 
Pilgrimage recalls. The poems which follow are 
akin to these in their lamentations of instability. At 
the close I have hung that wreathed garland which 
he hopes may even in his crooked, winding wayes 
express his tender reverence. 




Aubrey, writing of Herbert's Church at Bemerton, 
says: "In the chancel are many apt sentences pf 
Scripture. At his wife's seat, 'My Hfe is hid with 
Christ in God.'" As this poem occurs in W., the 
verse is shown to have been a favorite with Herbert 
before he became a priest. 


Found in W. 

Metre : 



The two tendencies of life. Accordingly both the 
words and thoughts of the poem are double. Out- 
wardly it shows a straight form and significance; 
but hidden within is another of deeper import which 
obliquely bends from start to finish. 

Notes : 

2-4. Sir T. Browne, Vulgar Errors, Bk. VI, ch. v, dis- 
cusses these two motions of the sun in the Ptolemaic 
astronomy as "that from East to West, whereby 
it makes the day [so diurnall, 1. 3], and likewise 
from West to East, whereby the year is computed." 




My words and thoughts do both expresse this 

That Life hath with the sun a double motion; 
The first Is straight, and our diurnall friend, 
The other Hid^ and doth obKquely bend. 
One hfe is wrapt In flesh, and tends to earth; 5 
The other winds towards Him whose happie birth 
Taught me to Hve here so That still one eye 
Should aim and shoot at that which Is on high, 
Quitting with daily labour all My pleasure. 
To gain at harvest an eternall Treasure. 10 



Found in W. 


God wakes us each morning not to the world but 
to himself. 
4. Make a match= come to an agreement. 
8. The thought is repeated from Man, IV, 13, 1. 7. 
10. So, i. e. as in 1. 2. Psalm viii, 4. 
13. "Herbert has been saying how marvellous it is that 
the Creator should care for the homage of each 
single creature, as He clearly does from the pains 
He spends upon it; whereas it is man who ought 
to devote himself to the Creator. Instead, however, 
of doing so, man attends to God's world with as 
much care as if it were his own. In the last verse 
the poet decides that it is possible so to study the 
world as not to miss God:" H. C. Beeching. 
20. The ending is the same as that of The Pearl, 
IV, 179. 



I CANNOT ope mine eyes 
But thou art ready there to catch 
My morning-soul and sacrifice; 
Then we must needs for that day make a match. 

My God, what is a heart ? 5 

Silver, or gold, or precious stone. 
Or starre, or rainbow, or a part 
Of all these things, or all of them in one ? 

My God, what is a heart, 9 

That thou shouldst it so eye and wooe, 
Powring upon it all thy art. 
As if that thou hadst nothing els to do ? 

Indeed man's whole estate 
Amounts (and richly) to serve thee. 14 
He did not heav'n and earth create. 
Yet studies them, not him by whom they be. 

Teach me thy love to know. 
That this new Ught, which now I see. 

May both the work and workman 
Then by a sunne-beam I will chmbe to thee. 20 



Found in W, An early poem both in style and 
matter, looking to the future. His plan, however, 
of being a poet is already completely formed (1. 39- 
47). Cf., too, 1. 23. 




The mode of thanksgiving appropriate to the 
Christian is to vie with his Master, and still to 
acknowledge himself surpassed. 

Notes : 
4. Pr evented =goesi before, as in Psalm xxi, 3. 

6. In 1679 doore was misprinted gore, and the error 
has been reproduced in most subsequent editions. 

7. Flouted. Cf. Home, VI, 87, 1. m.—Boxed=siruck 
with the fist, as in The Sacrifice, III, 135, 1. 129. 

8. 'T is but to repeat what thou hast suffered. 

9. The whole line is the subject of was. Matthew xxvii, 
46. Again in The Sacrifice, III, 143, 1. 213. 

11. (SHppm^= neglecting, as W. reads. 

14. Posie does not here mean a motto, as in the poem 
of that title, V, 29, but a bunch of flowers, as in 
All Angels and Saints, HI, 165, 1. 25, possibly 
with a suggestion, too, of Aaron's rod. 



Oh Ejng of grief! (A title strange, yet true, 

To thee of all kings onely due.) 
Oh King of wounds ! How shall I grieve for thee. 

Who in all grief preventest me ? 
Shall I weep bloud ? Why thou hast wept such 
store 5 

That all thy body was one doore. 
Shall I be scourged, flouted, boxed, sold ? 

'T is but to tell the tale is told. 
My God, my God, why dost thou fart from me ? 

Was such a grief as cannot be. 10 

Shall I then sing, skipping thy dolefuU storie. 

And side with thy triumphant glorie ? 
Shall thy strokes be my stroking? Thorns, my 
flower ? 

Thy rod, my posie ? Crosse, my bower ? 


15-19. Since in these outward matters I am precluded 
from rivalry, I will try to rival thy love. 

20. By =hy means of. Proverbs xix, 17. 

23. It is improbable that this was written after his 
marriage (1629). 

25-26. Dr. Grosart thinks these lines refer to Lord 
Edward Herbert of Cherbury, George Herbert's 
eldest brother, and one of the founders of Eng- 
lish Deism. But the reference is improbable, for 
(1) Edward Herbert was never the bosom friend of 
his brother George, being ten years older than he, 
and always separated from him in residence after 
George's eleventh year. (2) There is no other hint 
either in The Temple or The Country Par- 
son of aversion to the teaching of the De Veritate. 
(3) It is far from certain that these Knes were writ- 
ten after 1624, the date of the publication of the 
De Veritate. Since this poem is included in W., it 
must have been written before Herbert took orders. 
Its style is Herbert's earliest, when he was under 
the strong influence of Donne. 

27. One half of me, i. e. the bosom friend. 

29. See 1. 49. In 1674, and since, thy is misprinted my. 

31. The predestination may refer to the ministry of 
Jesus, those three years in which he was about his 
Father's business. So Herbert hopes that by the 
end of three years he may do many good deeds. 

33. PubHc-spirited men then gave monejr as naturally 
for building roads as for building hospitals. 


But how then shall I imitate thee and 15 

Copie thy fair, though bloudie hand ? 
Surely I will revenge me on thy love, 

And trie who shall victorious prove. 
If thou dost give me wealth, I will restore 

All back unto thee by the poore. 20 

If thou dost give me honour, men shall see 

The honour doth belong to thee. 
I will not marry; or, if she be mine, 

She and her children shall be thine. 
My bosome friend if he blaspheme thy name, 

I will tear thence his love and fame. 26 
One half of me being gone, the rest I give 

Unto some Chappell, die or live. 
As for thy passion — But of that anon. 

When with the other I have done. 30 
For thy predestination I'le contrive 

That three yeares hence, if I survive, 
rie build a spittle, or mend common wayes. 

But mend mine own without delayes. 


37. 1 will so detach myseK from the world that it shall 
not be noticed that I am still aUve. 

39. "The Sunday before his death he rose suddenly 
from his bed or couch, called for one of his instru- 
ments, took it into his hand, and said: My God, 
my God, my music shall find Thee, and every string 
shall have his attribute to sing :" Walton's Life. 

40. His=iis. The lute of Herbert's time had a multi- 
tude of strings, never less than sixteen, sometimes 
as many as thirty. 

44. Here, in this book of mine, contrasted with thy booh 
of 1. 45. 

47. Thy art of love, not Ovid's. Dr. Grosart writes : " I 
punctuate thee (:) not (,) as usually, because hav- 
ing so turned back God's love on him, he cries in 
accord with 1. 18, his trying who will victorious 
prove (Genesis xxxii, 28): O my deare Saviour, 
Vidorle! But the cry is premature; there comes 
the Passion, and on it the cry of the Conquered: 
Alas, my God, I know not what." 


Then I will use the works of thy creation 35 

As if I us'd them but for fashion. 
The world and I will quarrell, and the yeare 

Shall not perceive that I am here. 
My musick shall finde thee, and ev'ry string 

Shall have his attribute to sing, 40 

That all together may accord in thee, 

And prove one God, one harmonic. 
It thou shalt give me wit, it shall appeare; 

If thou hast giv'n it me, 't is here. 44 
Nay, I will reade thy book and never move 

Till I have found therein thy love. 
Thy art of love, which I'le turn back on thee: 

O my deare Saviour, Victorie! 
Then for thy passion — I will do for that — 

Alas, my God, I know not what. 50 


Introductory : 

Called in W. The Second Thanksgiving. A 
Reprisal is an attempt to return in kind what has 
been received, whether of good or ill. 


Found in W. 


Used also in Faith, IV, 29. 


By conquering him whom thou dost conquer — 
myself — I share thy victory. Cf . The Holdfast, 
V, 17, and one of the doubtful poems. Love, VI, 

Notes : 

1. It, i. e. rivalKng thee, which in the previous poem I 
dreamed was possible. 

3-8. If I should offer thee my life, I should merely give 
what is already forfeited by sin. If I were innocent, 
disentangled from sin, I might have something to 
present. But now I am able to give thee my life 
only because thou hast first given me thine. 
13. Cf. Confession, VI, 19. 
11. Must even my tears for sin have been already shed 

by thee ? 
15. A similar play of phrase, though in a widely dif- 
ferent connection, occurs at the close of a letter 
from Herbert to R. Naunton, 1620: Deus faveat 
tibi, et concedat ut terrestres tui honor es cum coelesti- 
hus certent et swperentur ! 



I HAVE consider'd it, and finde 
irhere is no dealing with thy mighty passion; 

For though I die for thee, I am behinde. 
My sinnes deserve the condemnation. 

O make me innocent, that I 5 

May give a disentangled state and free. 

And yet thy wounds still my attempts defie, 
For by thy death I die for thee. 

Ah, was it not enough that thou 
By thy etemall glorie didst outgo me ? 10 

Couldst thou not grief's sad conquests me allow, 
But in all vict'ries overthrow me ? 

Yet by confession will I come 
Into the conquest. Though I can do nought 

Against thee> in thee I will overcome 15 

The man who once against thee fought. 



Found in W. 
Metre : 

Of seventeen sonnets, eleven — like this — depart 
in the third quatrain from the Shakespearian form. 

Sin as an erroneous reckoning of values. 

1. How I tremble. ' 

3. Dividing myseK as time is divided, at least a seventh 

should be thine. 
5. PiZ'd= accumulated, heaped up, as in Marie Mag- 
dalene, V, 151, 1. 11. 

8. Reversing the arrangement of nature, heaven be- 
comes a hardly palpable point. 

9. Aristotle, and perhaps Pythagoras before him, 
recognized, in addition to the four elements, — 
earth, water, air, fire, — a fifth, ether, subtler than 
all the others. It fills the interstellar spaces; it is 
the medium of physical motion; and as the con- 
necting link between body and soul, it is the basis 
of life itself. Hence it comes to signify essence in 
general, the central principle, the precious part of 
anything ; and as the ground of aU being, it is 
sought after by the Alchemists. 

14. Exodus xxiv, 12. Cf. Sepulchre, V, 155, 1. 17. 



Lord, how I am all ague when I seek 

What I have treasur'd in my memorie! 
Since if my soul make even with the week. 

Each seventh note by right is due to thee. 
I finde there quarries of piFd vanities, 5 

But shreds of holinesse, that dare not venture 
To shew their face, since crosse to thy decrees. 

There the circumference earth is, heav'n the 
In so much dregs the quintessence is small; 

The spirit and good extract of my heart 10 

Comes to about the many hundredth part. 
Yet Lord restore thine image, heare my call; 

And though my hard heart scarce to thee can 

Remember that thou once didst write in stone. 



Found in W. 


The silent God. 

6. Bent thoughts. My thoughts refused to be fixed on 

the subject of my prayer. So The Method, V, 

197, 1. 15. 
8-9. These were the employments of his brothers, — 

soldiers and courtiers, — and his own thoughts 

went out after them. 
14. Psalm ci, 2. Longing, VI, 43, 1. 42. 



When my devotions could not pierce 
Thy silent eares, 
Then was my heart broken, as was my verse. 
My breast was full of fears 

And disorder. 5 

My bent thoughts, like a brittle bow. 
Did flie asunder. 
Each took his way: some would to pleasures go. 
Some to the warres and thunder 

Of alarms, 10 

As good go any where, they say. 
As to benumme 
Both knees and heart in crying night and day. 
Come, come, my God, O cornel 

But no hearing. 15 


26. Tune my breast. The phrase is used again in The 
Temper, IV, 113, 1. 23, and in the Chubch Mili- 
tant, VI, 125, 1. 76. 

27. No time=not at all, as in Grieve Not, VI, 17, 

30. Cf. 1. 3. Each preceding stanza has ended in dis- 
cord. The plan of a final unrhymed line for each 
stanza is adopted nowhere else, except in the 
refrains of Praise, HI, 95, and The Sacrifice, 
III, 123. 


O that thou shouldst give dust a tongue 
To crie to thee, 
And then not heare it crying! All day long 
My heart was in my knee. 

But no hearing. 20 

Therefore my soul lay out of sight, 
Untun'd, unstrung. 
My feeble spirit, unable to look right. 
Like a nipt blossome hung 

Discontented. 25 

O cheer and tune my heartlesse breast, ] 
Deferre no time. 
That so thy favours granting my request, 
They and my minde may chime. 

And mend my ryme. 30 



This poem is entitled Prayer in W. For the 
thought of it, compare The Method, V, 197. 
The lock and key (here sin and prayer) are men- 
tioned also in The Church-Porch, III, 31, 1. 144. 


Found in W. 

Metre : 



Our inaccessibihty to God mistaken for God's in- 
accessibility to us. 


5, Cold hands always find the fire at fault and needing 
mending. Cf. Jacula Prudentum: He that is 
warm thinks all so. 
11. Sinnes are like stones in a stream, — here, the 
stream of God's merciful blood, — which by ob- 
structing the current give it occasion to assert itself 
the more. 



I KNOW it is my sinne which locks thine eares 

And bindes thy hands, 
Out-crying my requests, drowning my tears. 
Or else the chilnesse of my faint demands. 

But as cold hands are angrie with the fire 5 

And mend it still. 
So I do lay the want of my desire 

Not on my sinnes or coldnesse, but thy will. 

Yet heare, O God, onely for his blond's sake 

Which pleads for me; 10 

For though sinnes plead too, yet like stones they 
His blond's sweet current much more loud to 



Found in W. This poem may refer to one of those 
many occasions when Herbert inclined to abandon 
his plans for the priesthood and become an elegant 
man of the world. He understood that such a 
course would disintegrate his powers in the way 
described in the second stanza. His mother steadied 
him. For Walton's account of the struggle, see note 
introductory to Affliction, IV, 134. 




Nature alien to God. 


2. Travell, i. e. run away. On fight, or travell, see 
note on Affliction, IV, 139, 1. 37. 

6. 2 Corinthians x. 4. 

7. This venome= TeheWion, 1. 1. 

9. Bubbles =high. rebellious thoughts, blown up by 
pride. Cf. Even-Song, V, 59, 1. 14, and Vanitie, 
IV, 153, 1. 18. 

10. By kinde= SLCcording to the nature of bubbles. So 
in A True Htmne, V, 27, 1. 15. 
7-12. This verse gives a vivid picture of an acid falling 
on a solid substance and turning it into gas. 

14. Jeremiah xxxi, 33. Cf. Vanitie, V, 135, 1. 24. 

16. Ezekiel xxxvi, 26. The life, or cohesion, of the 
stone is gone. The thought of these last three lines 
is worked out at length in Sepulchre, V, 155. 



Full of rebelKon, I would die, 
Or fight, or travell, or denie 
That thou hast ought to do with me. 
O tame my heart! 
It is thy highest art 5 

To captivate strong holds to thee. 

If thou shalt let this venome lurk 
And in suggestions fume and work, 
My soul will turn to bubbles straight. 

And thence by kinde 10 

Vanish into a winde. 
Making thy workmanship deceit. 

O smooth my rugged heart, and there 
Engrave thy rev'rend law and fear! 
Or make a new one, since the old 15 

Is saplesse grown, 
And a much fitter stone 
To hide my dust then thee to hold. 



Found in W. 

Metre : 



The sin of man as rooted in his frailty. The thought 
of this poem is more elaborately developed in The 
Flower, VI, 65. 


1. Psalm XXV, 11. 

3. Quick in a double sense, i. e. living and rapidly 
perishing. Ed. 1633 reads momentany, though B. 
and W. both read momentarie. Shakespeare uses 
momentany in Midsummer Night's Dream, i, 1, 
and Burton in The Anatomy of Melancholy, in his 
Democritus to the Reader. 
8. Each day allows us but a glance around, for, reck- 
oned in terms of pleasure, we are active during only 
two or three hours of it. But man's age (contrasted 
with the Angel's age of Prayer, III, 181, 1. 1) is 
only long and large when reckoned in sorrows, 
which have an ancient lineage. 



Lord, I confesse my sinne is great; 
Great is my sinne. Oh! gently treat 
With thy quick flow'r, thy momentanie bloom, 
"Whose life still pressing 
Is one undressing, 5 

A steadie aiming at a tombe. 

Man's age is two houres' work, or three. 
Each day doth round about us see. 
Thus are we to delights ; but we are all 

To sorrows old, 10 

If life be told 
From what life feeleth, Adam's fall. 

O let thy height of mercie then 
Compassionate short-breathed men! 14 
Cut me not off for my most foul transgression. 
I do confesse 
My fooUshnesse; 
My God, accept of my confession. 


19. Jeremiah ix, 15. 
22. Stay^ i. e. delay. 
27. Psalm cix, 18. 
32. Psalm li, 8. 


Sweeten at length this bitter bowl 
Which thou hast pour'd into my soul. 20 
Thy wormwood turn to health, windes to fair 

For if thou stay, 
I and this day. 
As we did rise, we die together. 

When thou for sinne rebukest man, 25 

Forthwith he waxeth wo and wan. 
Bitternesse fills our bowels; all our hearts 
Pine and decay. 
And drop away, 
And Carrie with them th' other parts. 30 

But thou wilt sinne and grief destroy. 
That so the broken bones may joy, 
And tune together in a well-set song. 
Full of his praises 
Who dead men raises. 35 

Fractures well cur'd make us more strong. 



Found in W. 




My treatment of my friend, and my treatment of 
God. The same subject as Ungratefulnesse, 
IV, 39, but considered personally, instead of theo- 

14. We should more naturally write thee than thou. 
16. Pretendeth to=seeketh, stretcheth after. Cf. Job- 
dan, III, 93,1. 16. 
19. The identical rhyme well emphasizes the con- 
trasted actions. 



Lord, make me coy and tender to offend. 
In friendship, first I think if that agree 
Which I intend 

Unto my friend's intent and end. 
I would not use a friend as I use Thee. 5 

If any touch my friend, or his good name. 
It is my honour and my love to free 
His blasted fame 

From the least spot or thought of blame. 
I could not use a friend as I use Thee. 10 

My friend may spit upon my curious floore. 
Would he have gold ? I lend it instantly; 
But let the poore, 

And thou within them, starve at doore. 
I cannot use a friend as I use Thee. 15 

When that my friend pretendeth to a place, 
I quit my interest and leave it free. 
But when thy grace 

Sues for my heart, I thee displace, 
Nor would I use a friend as I use Thee. 20 

Yet can a friend what thou hast done fulfill ? 
O write in brasse, My God upon a tree 
His hloud did spill 

Onely to purchase my good-will; 
Yet use I not my foes as I use thee, 25 

106 GRACE 


Vaughan imitates this poem in his Love and Dis- 


Found in W. 

Metre : 

Used also in Vertue, VI, 95. Here each stanza 
has the same central rhyme. 


Inert helplessness craving aid. Job xiv, 7-9. 

Notes : 

1. Stock =i}ie stem or trunk of any thing which grows 
(cf. Isaiah xl, 24). Failing to be helped by human 
care, this requires divine aid in sun, dew, freedom 
from disturbance at the root, at the heart, or else 
transplantation. (But see, also. Sighs and Grones, 
VI, 37, 1. 9.) 

10. Dove, i. e. thy Spirit, as in Grieve Not, VI, 
15, 1. 1. 

11. Grasse. Can Herbert have intended this word to 
take the place of the grcice which appears in the 
third line of all the other stanzas except the last ? 
The thought is clear: if the dew comes unasked, 
shall not thy Spirit when called ? 

13. The mole is mentioned again in Confession, VI, 
21, 1. 14. 



My stock Kes dead, and no increase 
Doth my dull husbandrie improve. 
O let thy graces without cease 

Drop from above! 

If still the sunne should hide his face, 5 

Thy house would but a dungeon prove, 
Thy works night's captives. O let grace 
Drop from above! 

The dew doth ev'ry morning fall. 

And shall the dew out-strip thy dove ? 10 
The dew, for which grasse cannot call, 
Drop from above. 

Death is still working like a mole, 

And digs my grave at each remove; 
Let grace work too, and on my soul 15 

Drop from above. 

Sinne is still hammering my heart 
Unto a hardnesse void of love; 
Let suppling grace, to crosse his art. 

Drop from above. 20 

O come ! For thou dost know the way. 

Or if to me thou wilt not move. 
Remove me where I need not say, 

Dwp from above. 



Found in W., and there entitled The Christian 



Unique. This is Herbert's nearest approach to 
Tennyson's In Memoriam metre, which in its com- 
plete form was used by his brother, Lord Her- 
bert, in A Ditty and in An Ode on a Question 
"Whether Love Should Continue Forever. 


The subject of this and the following poem may 
well be summed up in Wordsworth's Hne from the 
Ode to Duty: "I long for a repose that ever is 
the same." With these two poems may be classed 
The Flower, VI, 65. 


4. That=mj heart. 

5. Stands to = abides fixed, according to. 

7. Race=Taze, as in The Sacrifice, HI, 129, 1. 66, 
but spelled with the soft letter for the sake of rhyme. 
So Sidney, Sonnet XXXVI: "My forces razed, 
thy banners raised within." Herbert plays with 
the word differently in The Dawning, VI, 93, 
1. 12. 
9. Chair of grace =ihioTie of majesty. 
14. Heaven move. So in Man, IV, 15, 1. 26. 
16. Standing = constant, 1. 5. 



It cannot be. Where is that mightie joy 
Which just now took up all my heart ? 
Lord, if thou must needs use thy dart, 

Save that and me, or sin for both destroy. 

The grosser world stands to thy word and art; 
But thy diviner world of grace 6 

Thou suddenly dost raise and race, 

And ev'ry day a new Creatour art. 

O fix thy chair of grace, that all my powers 
May also ^ their reverence ; 10 

For when thou dost depart from hence. 

They grow unruly and sit in thy bowers. 

Scatter, or binde them all to bend to thee. 
Though elements change and heaven move. 
Let not thy higher Court remove, 15 

But keep a standing Majestic in me. 



In W. the title of this and the following poem is 
The Christian Temper. 


Found in W. 


Unique, but differing only in rhyming system from 
Even-Song, VI, 151. 


5. Fourtie is a common round number. There are 
about fifty cases of it in the Old Testament, and 
a dozen more in the New. In a letter of 1619 
Herbert writes : / have forty businesses in my 
hands. Crashaw in his poem Against Irresolution 
tells how Christ "Breaks thro* all ten heavens to 
our embrace;" but he probably has in mind the 
ten spheres of Ptolemaic astronomy. 



How should I praise thee, Lord! How should 
my rymes 
Gladly engrave thy love in steel, 
If what my soul doth feel sometimes, 

My soul might ever feel ! 4 

Although there were some fourtie heav'ns, or more, 
Sometimes I peere above them all; 
Sometimes I hardly reach a score. 
Sometimes to hell I fall. 

O rack me not to such a vast extent, 

Those distances belong to thee. 10 

The world's too little for thy tent, 
A grave too big for me. 


13. "The allusion is to the refusal of nobles and gentle- 
men to meet any but their peers in combat. ' Wilt 
thou/ says Herbert, — and the conceit is made here 
curious and complicated in thought by the refer- 
ence to stretching as by racking, — * wilt thou stretch 
a crumb of dust so that being made more thy 
equal thou mayst contend with him:'" A. B. Gro- 
sart. — Perhaps more light is thrown on the phrase 
by its use in a varied form in Praise, HI, 95, 1. 11, 
and Faith, IV, 31, 1. 27. While this stanza treats 
of stretching, the next begs for contraction. 

14. Crumme of dust, Cf. Longing, VI, 43, 1. 41. 
18. NesUe. Cf. Longing, VI, 45, 1. 54. 

23. Tuning. Cf. Church Militant, VI, 125, 1. 76. 
26. There=in a place made by thy hands. 


Wilt thou meet arms with man, that thou dost 
A crumme of dust from heav'n to hell ? 
Will great God measure with a wretch ? 15 
Shall he thy stature spell ? 

O let me, when thy roof my soul hath hid, 
O let me roost and nestle there; 
Then of a sinner thou art rid, 

And I of hope and fear. 20 

Yet take thy way, for sure thy way is best. 
Stretch or contract me thy poore debter. 
This is but tuning of my breast. 

To make the musick better. 

Whether I flie with angels, faU with dust, 25 

Thy hands made both, and I am there. 
Thy power and love, my love and trust. 
Make one place ev'ry where. 



Found in W. 

Metre : 

Used also in Love Unknown, V, 179, and in 
Grief, VI, 83. The first stanza of Justice, VI, 
13, is partially inwoven. The effect of inweaving 
here is increased by Herbert's avoiding too exact 
a repetition. Another variety of "link-verse" is 
employed in Sinnes Round, V, 143. Giles 
Fletcher has inwoven the last stanza of Christ's 
Victorie in similar fashion: 

" Impotent words, weak lines, that strive in vain — 
In vain, alas, to tell so heavenly sight! 
So heavenly sight as none can greater feigne, 
Feigne what he can, that seems of greatest might. 

Might any yet compare with Infinite ? 

Infinite siu-e those joyes, my words but light; 
Light is the palace where she dwells, O blessed wight!" 

Vaughan in his Wreath and his Lovesick has 
clumsy imitations. 

One cannot detach a topic for God's praise, so in- 
volved in one another are the grounds of our grat- 

3. Psalm cxxxix, 3. 
5. Cf. Our Life is Hid, IV, 79, 1. 3. 
7. The same rhjmae in Constancie, V, 121, 1. 18. 
10. IAke=hk.e Thy ways. 



A WREATHED garland of deserved praise, 

Of praise deserved, unto thee I give, 
I give to thee who knowest all my wayes. 

My crooked winding wayes, wherein I live. 
Wherein I die, not live; for life is straight, 5 

Straight as a line, and ever tends to thee. 
To thee, who art more farre above deceit 

Then deceit seems above simpKcitie. 
Give me simplicitie, that I may live; 9 

So Kve and like, that I may know, thy wayes. 
Know them and practise them. Then shall I give 

For this poore wreath, give thee a crown of 

Interior of Leighton Church, showing the two pulpits built, by Her- 
herVs orders, of equal height and dignity. 



ANEW period in the life of Herbert now 
begins, a period marked by a change of resi- 
dence and covering approximately the years 1626- 
30. During these years the opposing forces of his 
nature came into open conflict and brought him 
distress of mind and of body. 

By birth, temperament, and many circumstances 
of his Hfe, Herbert was impelled to a life of fashion, 
enjoyment, and irresponsible self -culture. "He 
took content in beauty, wit, musick and pleasant 
conversation." He knew the ways of learning, 
honor, and pleasure. Easily he answered to the 
calls of honour, riches, and fair eyes. Coming of 
a noble family, Walton says, " he kept himself at 
too great a distance with all his inferiours, and 
his cloaths seemd to prove that he put too great 
a value on his parts and Parentage." His early 
biographer, Oley, despairs of describing "that 
person of his, which afforded so unusual a contes- 
saration of elegancies and singularities to the be- 
holder." His eldest brother, Edward, after years 
of romantic adventure on the Continent, was 
appointed ambassador to the French Court. His 
favorite brother, Henry, was Master of the Revels 
at the English Court. Three other brothers were 


in the public service. Several powerful noblemen 
besides his great kinsman, the Earl of Pembroke, 
were his patrons. He was often at Court or with his 
uncle, the Earl of Danby. He indulged "a genteel 
humour for cloaths and Court-like company, and 
seldom look'd towards Cambridge unless the King 
were there, but then he never fail'd." In short, 
the favor of the great, the glitter of society, the 
quick returns of courtesie and wity and all elegancies 
of speech, dress, and Uving, were congenial to him. 
On one side of his nature Herbert was a brilliant 
man of the world, a richly endowed child of the 

Such a temperament inevitably induced secu- 
lar ambition. After a time a bookish life became 
repulsive ; for Herbert felt his powers, hated stag- 
nation, and dehghted in intellectual activity. In 
1617, when he was well under way with his divin- 
ity studies, he turned aside to seek the Orator- 
ship. This office he held for eight years. But he 
sought also to become an assistant Secretary of 
State. The Oratorship was the natural stepping- 
stone. Of the two preceding Orators, Sir Robert 
Naunton became Secretary of State, and Sir 
Francis Nethersole Secretary to the Queen of 
Bohemia. Sir Robert Creighton, who followed 
Herbert, became a Bishop. Both predecessor and 
successor at Bemerton became Bishops. But in 
1625 Herbert's political hopes approached an end; 
for in that year the king died, and within the 


following year the whole group of nobles, Lord 
Bacon included, to whom Herbert had looked for 
support. A year later came the saddest death of 
all, that of his mother. Herbert immediately re- 
signed the Oratorship, and seriously faced the 
problems which a disorganized life had induced. 
Up to about 1627 he had blindly drifted — under 
the guidance of what Walton styles "his natural 
elegance of behaviour, tongue, and pen" — toward 
social eminence. The liking for stately pleasures 
and fashionable distinction had ever a strong, and 
hitherto a controlling, influence over him. But the 
changed conditions brought about by the death of 
his friends set free another force which he had 
always felt as profounder and more really authori- 
tative, the force of rehgion, — religion to be exer- 
cised in the service of the Church. From childhood 
Herbert knew himself to be a dedicated soul, and 
inwardly, even in his most dilatory waj^wardness, 
he approved the dedication. Side by side with his 
fashionable tastes he had a veritable genius for 
rehgion. His feeble frame precluded his entering 
the army or any hardy profession. Oley says that 
"he was dedicated to serve God in his sanctuary 
before he was born." In The Glance he himself 
tells how in the midst of youth he had felt God^s 
gracious eye look on him. At Westminster School 
questions of religious controversy had engaged 
him. In a letter of 1617 he speaks of now setting 
foot into Divinity, to lay the 'platform of my future 


life, and thus of obeying that spirit which hath 
guided me hitherto, and of atchieving my holy ends. 
In a letter of 1622 to his mother he fears sickness 
as something which has made him unable to per- 
form those offices for which I came into \the world 
and must yet be kept in it. Of the poems printed in 
the first five Groups, a majority must have been 
written during these very years of courtly aspira- 
tion. Such incongruities were not exceptional in 
men of the later Renaissance, nor is there the least 
reason to doubt that underneath all his gay- 
nesses he truly loved God. His God — a poet's 
God — was highly personal, individual even; but 
only in union with Him could Herbert find peace. 
His very wealth of nature made him feel the more 
keenly the weight of chance desires. Beauty and 
order were in his Platonic soul. He did not wish 
to be his own master, but rather through divine 
obedience to escape from personal caprice. 

Early, too, in his boyhood, through his conse- 
cration to the priesthood by his pious and master- 
ful mother, he had formed an inseparable associa- 
tion between being holy and becoming a priest. 
Whether this association was wise, we need not ask. 
It controlled Herbert's Hfe, and hence is important 
to understand. Catholics sometimes speak of the 
call "to become a religious;" by which phrase 
they intend not merely becoming heavenly minded, 
but becoming a monk or nun. The two aims are 
in their thought indistinguishable. I have known 


Protestant young persons who thought they must 
withhold their hearts from God until they should 
be willing to become missionaries, or to meet some 
other external standard which in a more or less 
arbitrary way had become connected in their minds 
with holiness. Entering the priesthood was Her- 
bert's test, and in his instinctive thought it was 
fully identified with allegiance to God. In terms 
of it allegiance and faithlessness were estimated. 
While he always professedly maintained this ulti- 
mate purpose, whenever he felt responsibility irk- 
some and was incKned to drift with the fashiona- 
ble tide, he found excuses for delaying the great 
act. And when he experienced the emptiness of 
living by the day and longed for the eternal, the 
call to the priesthood became once more impera- 
tive. Little can be understood in the verse or life 
of Herbert unless we bear in mind that in his 
consciousness there was complete identification of 
submission to God and acceptance of the priest- 

Such, then, are the opposing forces, long at work, 
whose fierce and open conflict at a crisis period 
Herbert here records. The love of elegant plea- 
sure, whose issue is secular ambition, contends 
with the love of God, whose embodiment is the 
priesthood. Both are aKke unforced and genuine 
passions. Rightly or wrongly they are regarded by 
Herbert as fundamentally incompatible. He never 
doubts which of the two must ultimately win, but 


at any particular moment he dreads the final deci- 
sion. My soul doth love thee, yet it loves delay. The 
man is double-minded. In such a struggle, with- 
out regard to whether we approve the assumed 
antithesis, we must see that there is magnificent 
poetic material. Such Herbert found it. As an 
artist, in whom feehng is not falsified by represen- 
tation, he watched every stage of the contest and 
recorded it with poignant splendor. PecuHar and 
possibly distorted emotions which sprang up in 
a single mind under special conditions of time, 
family, and belief, he fashioned into pictures of 
such universal and perpetual beauty that men of 
ahen ideals have for three centuries been able 
to find in these experiences subtle interpretations 
of their own. 

Ellis, in his Specimens of English Poetry, re- 
marks that " nature intended Herbert for a knight- 
errant, but disappointed ambition made him a 
saint." That is as misleading a half-truth as Fer- 
rar's declaration in his Epistle to the Reader that 
Herbert was impelled altogether by "inward en- 
forcements, for outward there was none." While 
unquestionably the priesthood was his accepted 
aim from childhood, he spent most of the last third 
of his life in trying to avoid it, and it is doubtful 
if he would ever have reached it had not events 
between 1625 and 1629 obstructed other courses. 
His inclination to enter the service of God, how- 
ever, was just as genuine as was his disposition to 


find excuses for delay. He could not go away nor 
persevere. That is his own judgment as expressed 
in his three principal autobiographic poems, — 
Affliction, included in this Group, Love Un- 
known and The Pilgrimage of Group IX. 

In my essay on the Life of Herbert I have gone 
over the events of this C risis period with some care, 
and shown how they cooperated to bring about his 
final decision for the priesthood. Epitomizing 
them here, I may mention the increased interest in 
reHgious things, partly causing and partly caused 
by his rebuilding of Leighton Church; the wreck 
of his political hopes, brought about by the death of 
the King and his own noble patrons ; the reproach- 
ful loss of his mother, who had been his chief 
incitement to the priesthood; the resignation of 
the Oratorship, and his withdrawal from the Uni- 
versity. The mental conflicts attending these 
events threw him into serious illness. He went into 
retirement. A severe course of fasting saved his 
life, but left his health shattered. During this 
retirement the poems constituting the present 
Group, with possibly a few included in earlier 
Groups, were written. Near the close of the period, 
in March, 1629, at Edingdon Church, he suddenly 
married Jane Dan vers, a daughter of the cousin 
of his stepfather. There is no mention of her in 
his verse, unless in one dark line of The Pil- 

When, in 1630, the Rectory of Fuggleston-cum- 


Bemerton became vacant, the Earl of Pembroke 
induced the King to offer it to George Herbert. 
Though Herbert had already "put on a resolution 
for the Clergy," a month's hesitation followed. 
Then at a friend's persuasion he paid a visit to the 
Earl at Wilton House, where at that time the King 
and Laud also were. "That night," says Walton, 
"the Earl acquainted Dr. Laud with his Kinsman's 
irresolution. And the Bishop did the next day 
so convince Mr. Herbert that the refusal of it was 
a sin, that a Taylor was sent for to come speedily 
from Salisbury to Wilton to take measure and make 
him Canonical Cloaths against next day; which the 
Taylor did ; and Mr. Herbert being so habited, 
went with his presentation to the learned Dr. Dav- 
enant, who was then Bishop of Salisbury, and he 
gave him Institution immediately." This was April 
26, 1630. Five months later he received formal 
Ordination and came to live at Bemerton. He had 
just reached his thirty-eighth year when he began 
to carry out his lifelong purpose. 

At the beginning of the Group which describes 
this struggle I place Easter Wings and the long 
Affliction ; the latter written, I believe, as late 
as 1628 and well summarizing the whole period 
of turmoil. Three poems follow, expressing politi- 
cal disappointment and the sense of depression 
in being cast aside. In two or three pieces there is 
repentance for a particular past sin. Then begins 
the debate over taking final Orders, extending 


through half a dozen pieces and culminating in 
Peace, The Pearl, Obedience, The Rose, and 
An Offering. The Series closes with two songs 
of gladness and one of tender distrust of his own 




Found in W., and closely connected in subject with 
Affliction, IV, 135. 
Metre : 

The form of this poem is not dictated by imitative 
considerations merely, but — as usual with Her- 
bert — is shaped by the subject, in this case decline 
and enlargement. Possibly he may here be turning 
in a new direction the figure already employed in 
Church-Musick, III, 199, L 6; or The Church- 
Porch, III, 23, 1. 83. Cf. Praise, III, 95, 1. 5. 
Between any given line of one of these wings and 
the corresponding line of the other, there is close 
parallelism. In Quarles' Hieroglyphics are some 
Pyramids, similar to these Easter Wings, and hav- 
ing something of the same charm, as the line and 
thought enlarge together. I quote Hierog. IX. 

"How soon 

Our new-bom light 

Attains to full-eyed noon! 

And this how soon to grey-haired night! 

We spring, we bud, we blossom, and we blast, 

Ere we can count our days — our days that flee so fast." 

Drummond of Hawthornden has a similarly ex- 
panding poem of thirteen lines, and Wither in The 
Mistress of Philarete four which swell and shrink 
through fourteen lines. Christopher Harvey was 
naturally attracted by a form so striking, and imi- 
tates it in his Schola Cordis, Ode XXXVII, without 
any perception, however, of its inner significance. 







== §-> 


3 larks, 

sing thi 
shall the 



(K 1 

Most p 


H^ "^ &- 





E (5- 



all fu 







dst man i 
[y he lost 






r the flig 

n wealth 
the same. 












Subject : 

Cramped by sin and sorrow, in Christ we are set 
free. Psalm Iv, 6. 

Notes : 
8. The mounting lark is mentioned again in Sign, 
VI, 25, 1. 23. 
11. Contrasted with the first line of the first stanza. 
19. Imp (German impf en) =io insert, and so to rein- 
force, to repair. The damaged wing of a hawk is 
mended by grafting it with feathers from another 
bird. Milton in his sonnet to Fairfax complains 
that the Scotch, allying with the English Royalists, 
will "imp their serpent wing." Oley uses the word 
in his Preface to The Country Parson: "With 
fasting, Herbert imped his prayers both private and 





Introductory : 

Four other poems with this title are given, IV, 
43, VI, 29, 31, 33,— "His Mother would by no 
means allow him to leave the University [i. e. his 
divinity studies] or to travel. And though he in- 
cHn'd very much to both, yet he would by no means 
satisfie his own desires at so dear a rate as to prove 
an undutiful Son to so affectionate a Mother. And 
what I have now said may partly appear in a Copy 
of Verses in his printed Poems; 'tis one of those 
that bears the title of Affliction:" Walton's Life. 


Found in W. Probably written about 1628. Lines 
55-60 show that he had not yet taken orders. 
Line 32 seems to point to that series of deaths in 
1625-7 which changed the course of his life. 



Subject : 

The double-minded man. James i, 8. 

Notes : 

1. Cf. The Glance, VI, 91, where, nearing his 

death, he recalls these early experiences. 
4. In the holy Hfe I saw pleasures which I supposed 
would make a clear addition to those I already 
possessed. So Affliction, IV, 43, 1. 7. 

10. 'Tice, again in The Size, V, 195, 1. 29. 

11. Such = such and such. Stars are Herbert's frequent 
name for ideal and glorious ends; cf . The Church- 
Porch, III, 35, 1. 171, and The Starre, IV, 161. 



When first thou didst entice to thee my heart, 

I thought the service brave; ' 

So many joyes I writ down for my part, 
Besides what I might have 

Out of my stock of naturall delights, 5 

Augmented with thy gracious benefits. 

I looked on thy furniture so fine. 

And made it fine to me; 

Thy glorious houshold-stuffe did me entwine, 

And 'tice me unto thee. 10 

Such starres I counted mine; both heav'n and 

Payd me my wages in a world of mirth. 


17. My sudden soul ; cf . Walton's account of Herbert's 
marriage and ordination, and his own recogni- 
tion of his hasty disposition in The Answer, 
IV, 147, 1. 6. 

18. Fiercenesse, as in The Church-Porch, III, 51, 
1. 307= excitability. "My brother George was not 
exempt from passion and choler (being infirmities 
to which all our race is subject) but that excepted, 
without reproach in his actions:" Lord Herbert's 

24. Made a pariie= raised a faction. The idea of a con- 
test is continued in the next, and also in the eighth 

25. Began. "Either a misprint or a noticeable idiom of 
the word began : yes, and a very beautiful idiom it 
is, the first colloquy or address of the soul:" S. T. 
Coleridge. Notes and Queries for September 21, 
1850, says the idiom is still in use in Scotland. " You 
had better not begin to me," is the first address of 
the schoolboy, half angry, half frightened, at the 
bullying of a companion. 


What pleasures could I want whose King I served ? 

Where joyes my fellows were. 
Thus argu'd into hopes, my thoughts reserved 15 

No place for grief or fear. 
Therefore my sudden soul caught at the place, 
And made her youth and fiercenesse seek thy face. 

At first thou gav'st me milk and sweetnesses; 

I had my wish and way. 20 

My dayes were straw'dwithflow'rs and happinesse, 

There was no moneth but May. 
But with my yeares sorrow did twist and grow, 
And made a partie unawares for wo. 

My flesh began unto my soul in pain, 25 

Sicknesses cleave my bones; 

Consuming agues dwell in ev'ry vein, 

And tune my breath to grones. 

Sorrow was all my soul; I scarce beleeved. 

Till grief did tell me roundly, that I Hved. 30 


35. Fence = defence. 

37. B. Oley, in his Preface to The Country Parson, 
writes of Herbert : "Himself intimates that whereas 
his Birth and Spirit prompted him to martiall 
Atchievements — The way that takes the town — 
and not to sit simpering over a Book, God did often 
melt his spirit and entice him with Academick 
Honor to be content to wear and wrap himselfe in 
a gown so long till he durst not put it off, nor retire 
to any other calling." The scholar's life is here, 
and in the previous extract from Walton, conceived 
as naturally leading to the priesthood. Clerks are 
Clerics or Clergymen. 

38. The way that takes the town, again in a reading of 
W. for 1. 22 of The Church-Porch. 

44. Simpring=i]ie smile of one in an inferior position 
who is seeking favor; cf. The Church-Porch, 
III, 29, 1. 123, and The Search, V, 219, 1. 14. He 
alludes to his many unsuccessful attempts at secu- 
lar preferment. 

45. So holding him to university life and the priestly 

47. Till I came neare ; when I tried to come to close 
quarters with the scholar's life and to content my- 
self with it, I could not. 


When I got health thou took'st away my Hfe, 
And more; for my friends die. 

My mirth and edge was lost; a blunted knife 

Was of more use then I. 34 

Thus thinne and leau, without a fence or friend, 

I was blown through with ev'ry storm and winde. 

Whereas my birth and spirit rather took 

The way that takes the town, 

Thou didst betray me to a Kngring book 

And wrap me in a gown. 40 

I was entangled in the world of strife 

Before I had the power to change my Hfe. 

Yet, for I threatned oft the siege to raise, 
Not simpring all mine age. 

Thou often didst with Academick praise 45 

Melt and dissolve my rage. 

I took thy sweetned pill till I came neare; 

I could not go away, nor persevere. 


50. Lest I should accustom myself to such hesitations, 
illness compelled me to abandon secular hopes. 

53. Thy 'power crosse-bias, i. e. cuts athwart me, against 
my natural disposition, as bias is used in CoN- 
STANciE, V, 121, 1. 32. There is another mention 
of bowling in Providence, V, 85, 1. 60. 

55. i?ere= probably Woodford or Dauntsey. 

56. Herbert was a lover of books. In a letter to his step- 
father (1617), soliciting more money for books, he 
writes^: If a hook of four or five shillings come in my 
way, I buy it, though I fast for it ; yea, sometimes 
of ten shillings. 

51. The same wish is expressed in Employment, III, 
105, 1. 21, and suggested in Man, IV, 13, 1. 8. 

60. Just; I would keep what was intrusted to me. 

61. Each pair of lines in this final stanza represents a 
different mood of mind. 

66. The resolve of reason checked by love (cf . the close 
of The Collar, V, 211) is intentionally para- 
doxical, but in substance means: I cannot take an- 
other master; fixed as I am in love to thee, I know 
no greater punishment than to be forbidden to love. 
Cf. Psalm Ivi, 3. Possibly it is a reminiscence of 
Sidney's Sonnet LXXXVII: "I had been vexed 
if vexed I had not been." 


Yet lest perchance I should too happie be 

In my unhappinesse, 50 

Turning my purge to food, thou throwest me 
Into more sicknesses. 

Thus doth thy power crosse-bias me, not making 

Thine own gift good, yet me from my wayes taking. 

Now I am here, what thou wilt do with me 55- 
None of my books will show. 

I reade, and sigh, and wish I were a tree, 
For sure then I should grow 

To fruit or shade. At least some bird would trust 

Her houshold to me, and I should be just. 60 

Yet, though thou troublest me, I must be meek; 

In weaknesse must be stout. 
Well, I will change the service and go seek 

Some other master out. 
Ah my deare God! Though I am clean forgot, 
Let me not love thee if I love thee not. 66 


Introductory : 

Another poem with this title is given, III, 103. In 

this is expressed a dependence upon God to make 

and keep us well employed; in that an obligation 

upon ourselves to be so. 

Found in W. Trying to content himself with failure. 


Herbert's frequent lament over inactive powers. 
Notes : 

1. This metaphor is worked out more elaborately in 
The Flower, VI, 65. 

2. Extend=uido\d, grant opportunity for enlarge- 
ment. So again 1. 1, and 6. 

4. So in Deniall, IV, 95, 1. 24. 

5. Cf. Submission, V, 205, 1. 7. 

6. But I too should then have a place among thy 
honorable things, Cf. 1. 21. 

8. 1, e. Dooms-Day, IV, 63. 

11. In this place and only during this life is enjoy- 
ment measured out to us. The material for it is 
in thy keeping. Bestow ! 



If as a flowre doth spread and die, 

Thou wouldst extend me to some good, 
Before I were by frost's extremitie 

Nipt in the bud; 

The sweetnesse and the praise were thine, 5 

But the extension and the room, 
Which in thy garland I should fill, were mine 

At thy great doom. 

For as thou dost impart thy grace, 

The greater shall our glorie be. 10 

The measure of our joyes is in this place. 

The stuff e with thee. 


13. Cf. DuLNESSE, V, 207, 1. 1. 

16. But with delates = though even in coming to its 
end life lags. 

19. That=hoiiej. These= fiowers. Coleridge seems 
to have had these lines in mind in his Work With- 
out Hope : 

"And I the while, the sole unbusy thing, 
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor siag." 

21. In Man, IV, 11, and in Providence, V, 79, Her- 
bert explains at some length his conception of the 
world as a divine organism, in which each part is 
linked with every other part. Cf. Drayton, Ec- 
logues, VII, 184 : 

" The everlastiQg chain 
Which together all things tied. 
And unmoved doth them retain. 
And by which they shall abide." 

22. Companie—I sun as useless to society as a weed, 
reversing the thought of The Church-Porch, III, 
57, 1. 368.—^ weed, not the flowre of 1. 1 and 19. 
Cf. The Crosse, V, 233, 1. 30. 


Let me not languish then, and spend 

A life as barren to thy praise 
As is the dust to which that life doth tend, 15 

But with delaies. 

All things are busie; onely I 

Neither bring hony with the bees, 
Nor flowres to make that, nor the husbandrie 

To water these. 20 

I am no link of thy great chain, 

But all my companie is a weed. 
Lord place me in thy consort; give one strain 

To my poore reed. 



Not found in W. Line 7 implies that he, is not yet 

in the priesthood. 
Metre : 

Of seventeen sonnets, six — Hke this — are in the 

Shakespearian form. 
Subject : 

Life passes. My work remains undone. Men call 

me dilatory. There has been reason for the delay, 

— though what it is, I cannot precisely say. 
Notes : 
3. Fierce youth; cf . Affliction, IV, 137, 1. 18. Youth 

is spoken of as now past. — Bandie may mean toss 

to and fro ; or more probably band together, as in 

HuMiLiTiE, IV, 37, 1. 29. 

5. Probably written after his disappointment at Court. 

6. Cf . Even-Song, V, 59, 1. 12. 

8. A mist rising from a damp place. Perhaps sug- 
gested by James iv, 14. Again, in Church-Monu- 
ments, III, 201, 1. 5. Cf. Herbert's letter to Bishop 
Andrewes: Ut halitus tenuiores solent, qui primo 
caloris suasu exdtati atque expergefadi, uhi sursum 
processerint paulo, frigefadi demum relabuntur. 
Vaughan imitates in his Shower, Isaac's Marriage, 
and Disorder and Frailty. 

9. Means= aims at. The Church-Porch, III, 53, 
1. 334. 

10. Pwme= swollen. 

13. We say, "Show me off, and set me off." 

14. ifore=more fully. The object of know is which. 



My comforts drop and melt away like snow. 

I shake my head, and all the thoughts and ends, 
Which my fierce youth did bandie, fall and flow 

Like leaves about me; orHke summer friends, 
Flyes of estates and sunne-shine. But to all 5 

Who think me eager, hot, and undertaking, 
But in my prosecutions slack and small — 

As a young exhalation, newly waking. 
Scorns his first bed of dirt, and means the sky, 

But cooling by the way, grows pursie and slow, 
And setHng to a cloud, doth live and die 11 

In that dark state of tears — to all that so 
Show me and set me, I have one reply: 
Which they that know the rest, know more then I. 


Introductory : 

Ambition, or untimely desire of promotion to an 
higher state or place, is a common temptation to men 
of any eminency, especially being single men : The 
Country Parson, IX. " On the time of his Induc- 
tion Herbert said to Mr. Woodnot, / now look back 
upon my aspiring thoughts and think myself more 
happy than if I had attained what then I so am- 
bitiously thirsted for : " Walton's Life. 


Found in W. Written when reflecting on baflBied 
ambition, perhaps his failure to obtain the Secre- 
taryship of State. 

Metre : 

Used also in Divinitie, V, 97, and Church- 
MusiCK, III, 199. 


The futility of fame. 

" Resolve to be thyself ! And know that he 
Who finds himself loses his misery." 

M. Arnold, Self-Dependence. 


8. Over-zealous watchfulness. 

15. Let loose to = aim its arrow at. 

16. Take up= accept, accommodate itself to. Herbert 
probably has the Emperor Charles V in mind, who 
in 1555 abdicated his throne and retired to a clois- 
ter. The occurrence is referred to by both Walton 
and Oley in their Lives of Herbert. 



Peace mutt'ring thoughts, and do not grudge to 

Within the walls of your own breast. 
Who cannot on his own bed sweetly sleep, 

Can on another's hardly rest. 

Gad not abroad at ev'ry quest and call 5 

Of an untrained hope or passion. 

To court each place or fortune that doth fall 
Is wantonnesse in contemplation. 

Mark how the fire in flints doth quiet he. 

Content and warm t' it self alone; 10 

But when it would appeare to others' eye, 
Without a knock it never shone. 

Give me the pliant minde, whose gentle measure 
CompUes and suits with all estates; 

Which can let loose to a crown, and yet with plea- 
sure 15 
Take up within a cloister's gates. 


20. One who is inwardly contented finds comfort and 
freedom from accident everywhere. The rhyme oc- 
curs again in Confession, VI, 21, 1. 22. 

21 . Brags = things boasted of. So Milton, Comus, 1. 745, 
"Beauty is Nature's brag." 

22. Cf. Dooms-Day, IV, 65, 1. 21. Herbert's disposi- 
tion to repeat himself is strikingly seen on compar- 
ing this passage with one in his Oration on the 
Return op Prince Charles from Spain, de- 
livered in October, 1623 : In resolutione ilia ultima, 
nulla sit distindio populi aid principis. Nulla sunt 
sceptra in elementis, nulli fasces aut secures. Vapor es 
serviles ad nubes edudi, aequ£ magnum toniiru edent 
ac regii. 

25. The only difference between thee and men of emi- 
nence is that no record will be preserved of the 
events of thy life. So A Dialogue-Antheme, VI, 
103, 1. 3, and Donne's Canonization, 1. 31: "And 
if no piece of Chronicle we prove." 

28. May not rent=ma,j yield no returns. Rerd is not 
confined by Herbert to income from lands. Cf. 
Providence, V. 81, 1. 27. 

29. Deeds whose full significance you alone can know. 

31. Digedimi, in apposition to wit, carries out the figure 
already begun in chawed and tongue. People will be 
able to digest, assimilate, comprehend, your deeds 
only if they are themselves intelligent. 

32. Nourisht, that to which you gave so much care. 

33. Discoursing, probably here used in its early sense 
of running to and fro. 


This soul doth span the world, and hang content 
From either pole unto the centre; 

Where in each room of the well-furnisht tent 19 
He lies warm and without adventure. 

The brags of life are but a nine dayes' wonder. 

And after death the fumes that spring 
From private bodies make as big a thunder 

As those which rise from a huge King. 

Onely thy Chronicle is lost; and yet 25 

Better by worms be all once spent 

Then to have hellish moths still gnaw and fret 
Thy name in books, which may not rent : 

When all thy deeds, whose brunt thou feel'st alone. 
Are chaw'd by others' pens and tongue; 

And as their wit is, their digestion, 31 

Thy nourisht fame is weak or strong. 

Then cease discoursing, soul. Till thine own 

Do not thy self or friends importune. 
He that by seeking hath himself once found 35 

Hath ever found a happie fortune. 


Introductory : 

Another poem with this title is given, V, 133. In 
both cases the word does not cany our meaning of 
desire for social esteem, but has its old sense of 
emptiness, futile action. 


Not found in W. 




He is enticed by a fair-eyed, money-loving woman 
(1. 3, 6, 12); cf. The Convert, VI, 157, and The 
Pilgrimage, V, 237, 1. 13. The temptation which 
Herbert oftenest mentions is that of lust. 

Notes : 

3. Cf. Sonnets to his Mother, III, 81, 1. 22, and 
Frailtie, IV, 155, 1. 3. 

4. Embroyderies ; cf. Dotage, V, 137, 1. 5. 
15. Cf. last stanza of The Pulley, V, 149. 

18. This line suggests that the poem was written early 
in life, though it does not appear in W. 



PooRE silly soul, whose hope and head lies low, 
Whose flat delights on earth do creep and grow. 
To whom the starres shine not so fair as eyes. 
Nor solid work as false embroyderies; 
Heark and beware, lest what you now do mea- 
sure 5 
And write for sweet, prove a most sowre displea- 
O heare betimes, lest thy relenting 

May come too late! 
To purchase heaven for repenting 

Is no hard rate. 10 

If souls be made of earthly mold, 
Let them love gold; 
If bom on high. 
Let them unto their kindred flie. 
For they can never be at rest 15 

Till they regain their ancient nest. 
Then silly soul take heed, for earthly joy 
Is but a bubble and makes thee a boy. 



Found in W. 
Metre : 


Attracted both by the world and the priesthood, 
he sees that the latter, which he has loved from 
childhood, may be pushed aside by the former, 
which he inwardly despises. Cf . with Vanitie. 
Notes : 

1. In my silence =10. times of reflection. 
6. Z)mre= costly. 

9. Abroad, in contrast with in my silence, 1. 1. — /2egfi- 

mew^5= governments, methods of rule. Hooker uses 

the word frequently, e. g. : * ' Men might have lived 

without any public regiment:" Eccl. Pol. I, 10. 

11. Sa(Z=serious, sober. Cf. The Church-Porch, 

III, 43, 1. 247. 
13. PFee<i5= garments ; cf. The Sacrifice, III, 141, 
1. 178. 

15. Dust before ; cf. 1. 4, and Love, III, 85, 1. 23. 

16. PncA;= stimulate; so used in Faith, IV, 31, 1. 38, 
and Ecclesiasticus xxii, 19. 

18. Cf. 1. 7. 

19. Affront=he brought into comparison with. 

22. It=honour, riches, or fair eyes, 1. 3 and 17. 

23. Commodious <o= fitted to, with power to do that for 
which the Tower of Babel was designed, Genesis 
xi, 4. Babel is mentioned again in Sinnes Round, 
V, 145, 1. 15. 



Lord, in my silence how do I despise 

What upon trust 
Is styled honour, riches, or fair eyes. 
But is /air dust! 
I surname them guilded clay, 5 

Deare earth, fine grasse or hay. 
In all, I think my foot doth ever tread 
Upon their head. 

But when I view abroad both Regiments, 

The world's and thine; 10 
Thine clad with simplenesse and sad events, 
The other fine, 
Full of glorie and gay weeds. 
Brave language, braver deeds; 14 

That which was dust before doth quickly rise. 
And prick mine eyes. 

O brook not this, lest if what even now 

My foot did tread. 
Affront those joyes wherewith thou didst endow 
And long since wed 20 

My poore soul, ev'n sick of love, 
It may a Babel prove 
Commodious to conquer heav'n and thee 
Planted in me. 


Introductory : 

Cf. the following poem, and The Storm, VI, 23. 


Not found in W. But he is questioning whether 
he shall longer disobey the divine call, and hopes 
that God may bless his alien wishes. 

Metre : 


Subject : 

The projection upon God of our desires. He has 
been observing some meteor shower, and reflects 
that as influences pass from heaven to earth, so may 
others pass from earth to heaven. A star with Her- 
bert is always a name for an exalted and divine 
impulse, something which has the face of fire, but 
ends in rest (1. 8); cf. Vanitie, IV, 153, 1. 3 ; The 
Banquet, V, 53, 1. 10. 

Notes : 

1-3. One of the Latin poems contained in the Williams 
Manuscript (Lucus V) is upon the Holy Scriptures. 
The opening lines describe the author's mental 
agitation, and the poem proceeds : 

Nwnquid pro foribus sedendo nuper 
Stellam vespere suxerim volardem, 
Haec aidem hospitio latere turpi 
Prorsus nesda, cogitat recessum ? 



As I one ev'ning sat before my cell, 

Me thoughts a starre did shoot into my lap. 
I rose and shook my clothes, as knowing well 
That from small fires comes oft no small mishap. 
When suddenly I heard one say, 5 

Do as thou usest, disobey, 
Expell good motions from thy breast 
Which have the face of fire, but end in rest. 

I, who had heard of musick in the spheres, 9 

But not of speech in starres, began to muse. 
But turning to my God, whose ministers 
The starres and all things are. If I refuse, 
Dread Lord, said I, so oft my good. 
Then I refuse not ev'n with bloud 
To wash away my stubborn thought; 15 

For I will do or suffer what I ought. 


9. Possibly there are other allusions to the musick in 
the spheres in Providence, V, 83, 1. 40, and The 
Storm, VI, 23, 1. 13. For full statement of the 
doctrine, see Milton's Ode on the Nativity, stanza 
xiii, and Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, v, i, 

14-16. My refusal (1. 6) is due to my determination to 
bear the penalty of my own sin, and not to allow 
thee to wash it away with thy blood. 

24. The justification of 1. 19. 

27. " Parley and articling (1. 31) are both miHtary 
terms; the soul cannot surrender on articles of 
capitulation:" A. B. Grosart. 

28. Behold my breast, i. e. shoot into me thine arrows 

30. So Clasping of Hands, V, 37, 1. 2. 


But I have also starres and shooters too, 

Born where thy servants both artilleries use. 
My tears and prayers night and day do wooe 
And work up to thee, yet thou dost refuse. 20 
Not but I am (I must say still) 
Much more oblig'd to do thy will 
Then thou to grant mine, but because 
Thy promise now hath ev'n set thee thy laws. 

Then we are shooters both, and thou dost deigne 
To enter combate with us and contest 26 

With thine own clay. But I would parley fain. 
Shunne not my arrows, and behold my breast. 
Yet if thou shunnest, I am thine; 
I must be so, if I am mine. 30 

There is no articling with thee. 
I am but finite, yet thine infinitely. 


Introductory : 

Vaughan imitates this poem in his The Star. The 
star is a favorite word with Herbert, occurring in 
eighteen of his poems. He attaches mystic mean- 
ings to it, and employs it to indicate more than the 
physical object. Perhaps in early life his imagina- 
tion had been stirred by some striking spectacle 
in the heavens. Halley's comet appeared in 1607. 
Another notable comet appeared in November, 
1618, and was believed by many to prophesy the 
death of the Queen. (See S. R. Gardiner, Hist, of 
England, HI, 298, and Howell's Letters, Bk. I, 2, 
VI.) In this strange poem he may connect the nim- 
bus which he has seen around the head of Christ 
in some picture (1. 2 and 22) with the coal of fire 
which an angel brought from the altar (Isaiah vi, 
5-8) as the call and purification of a prophet for 
his work, i. e. in Herbert's case, the priesthood. 


Not in W. But, like the preceding, it discusses his 
divine call. 

Metre : \ 


Subject : 

" They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of 
the firmament; and they that turn many to right- 
eousness as the stars for ever and ever:" Daniel 
xii, 3. 

12. It=m.j heart, as in 1. 8. 



Bright spark, shot from a brighter place, 
Where beams surround my Saviour's face. 
Canst thou be any where 
So well as there ? 

Yet if thou wilt from thence depart, 5 

Take a bad lodging in my heart; 

For thou canst make a debter, 
And make it better. 

First with thy fire-work bum to dust 

Folly, and worse then folly, lust. 10 

Then with thy light refine. 
And make it shine: 

So disengag'd from sinne and sicknesse. 
Touch it with thy celestiall quicknesse. 

That it may hang and move 15 

After thy love. 


17. Ught of 1. 11. 

18. Motion, and heat, 1. 14 and 9. 

19. The place described in 1. 2. 

26. Winde is a favorite word with Herbert. See The 
World, IV, 23, 1. 13; Our Life is Hid, IV, 79, 
1. 6; Confession, VI, 19, 1. 8. 

30. Cf. Employment, W, 145, 1. 18. 

31. Cf. Home, VI, 85 1. 20. 


Then with our trinitie of Kght, 

Motion, and heat, let's take our flight 
Unto the place where thou 

Before didst bow. 20 

Get me a standing there, and place 
Among the beams which crown the face 
Of him who dy'd to part 
Sinne and my heart. 

That so among the rest I may 25 

Glitter, and curie, and winde as they; 
That winding is their fashion 
Of adoration. 

Sure thou wilt joy, by gaining me. 

To flie home like a laden bee 30 

Unto that hive of beams 
And garland-streams. 


Introductory : 

Besides this poem the following have the dialogue 
form: Heaven, IV, 69; Love, IV, 197; Businesse, 
V, 139; Love Unknown, V, 179; and A Dia- 
logue- Antheme, VI, 103. 


Not found in W. Written when debating about 
dedicating himself to the priesthood. 

Metre : 

Unique. , 


Shall my lack of worth keep me from God } Shall 
it not rather draw me to Him "^ 


4. ^ai;mgr= wavering; cf. James i, 6. 

6. Gains. Cannot make such a wretch profitable to 

12. Treasure, so Obedience, IV, 181, 1. 15. 



Sweetest Saviour, if my soul 

Were but worth the having, 
Quickly should I then controU 

Any thought of waving. 
But when all my care and pains 5 

Cannot give the name of gains 
To thy wretch so full of stains. 
What delight or hope remains ? 

What (childe) is the hallance thine. 

Thine the poise and measure ? 10 

If I say. Thou shalt he mine. 
Finger not my treasure. 

What the gains in having thee 

Do amount to, onely he 

Who for man was sold can see, 15 

That transferred th^ accounts to me. 


20. SatJowr= knowledge (Fr. savoir). 
22. John xiv, 6. 
25. Tto=that disclaimer. 

28. Would be as resigned to the divine will as I was. 
Isaiah xlv, 9. 

31. Philippians ii, 6-8. 

32. Here as in The Collar, V, 213, 1. 36, the settle- 
ment of the controversy is reached through affec- 


But as I can see no merit 

Leading to this favour. 
So the way to fit me for it 

Is beyond my savour. 20 

As the reason then is thine, 
So the way is none of mine. 
I disclaim the whole designe, 
Sinne disclaims, and I resigne. 

That is all, if that I could 25 

Get without repining; 
And my clay, my creature, would 

Follow my resigning. 
That as I did freely part 
With my glorie and desert, 30 

Left all joyes to feel all smart — 

Ah, no more ! Thou break'st my heart. 



"He knew full well what he did when he received 
Holy orders, as appears by the Poems called Priest- 
hood and Aaron:" Oley's Life of Herbert. 


Not found in W. Hesitating over the priesthood. 

Metre : 

Used only here, but differs merely in rhyming sys- 
tem from Dotage, V, 137. 

Subject : 

The decision whether he is worthy to enter the 
priesthood must be made by God, not by himself. 

Notes : 
2. Matthew xvi, 19. 

5. Walton tells how Herbert, after he was made rector 
of Bemerton, changed his sword and silk clothes 
into a canonical coat. Before taking orders as a 
priest in 1630 he had accepted the sinecure Rector- 
ship of Whitford in 1623, and the Prebend of 
Leighton Ecclesia in 1626; but in both cases as 
deacon only. 
10. From a child he was feeble, inclining to fevers, 
weak of lungs and digestion. Easter Wings, IV, 
133, 1. 11-15. 
16. Thxit eari^= potter's clay. Romans ix, 21. He has 
in mind the fire of 1. 7. 



Blest Order, which in power dost so excell 

That with th' one hand thou liftest to the sky, 

And with the other throwest down to hell 

In thy just censures; fain would I draw nigh, 

Fain put thee on, exchanging my lay-sword 5 
For that of th' holy word. 

But thou art fire, sacred and hallow'd fire, 
And I but earth and clay. Should I presume 

To wear thy habit, the severe attire 

My slender compositions might consume. 10 

I am both foul and brittle, much unfit 
To deal in holy Writ. 

Yet have I often seen, by cunning hand 

And force of fire, what curious things are made 

Of wretched earth. Where once I scorn'd to stand. 
That earth is fitted by the fire and trade 16 

Of skilfuU artists for the boards of those 

Who make the bravest shows. 


24. Cf. Man, IV, 15, 1. 24. 

32. 2 Samuel vi, 6. 

39. The distance; cf. The Church-Porch, III, 45, 
1. 260. 

40-42. Proud evil people honor the great by attempt- 
ing to rival with their own splendor that of their 
princes, and still falling short. Good poor people, 
who will show no less honor, must do so by fulness 
of submission. So may I, submissive in my poverty, 
lead God to count me worthy to be his priest. 


But since those great ones, be they ne're so great, 
Come from the earth from whence those vessels 
come ; 20 

So that at once both feeder, dish, and meat 

Have one beginning and one finall summe; 
I do not greatly wonder at the sight. 

If earth in earth dehght. 

But th' holy men of God such vessels are 25 

As serve him up who all the world commands. 
When God vouchsafeth to become our fare. 
Their hands convey him who conveys their 
O what pure things, most pure must those things be. 
Who bring my God to me! 

Wherefore I dare not, I, put forth my hand 31 

To hold the Ark, although it seem to shake 
Through th' old sinnes and new doctrines of our 
Onely since God doth often vessels make 
Of lowly matter for high uses meet, 35 

I throw me at his feet. 

There will I lie, untill my Maker seek 

For some mean stuffe whereon to show his skill. 

Then is my time. The distance of the meek 39 
Doth flatter power. Lest good come short of ill 

In praising might, the poore do by submission 
What pride by opposition. 

172 PEACE 

Introductory : 

" An admirable specimen of the allegorical style 
which, under the first two Stuart kings, took the 
place of the pastoral Elizabethan allegory. Few 
poets, in C. Lamb's language, are more *matter- 
ful* than Herbert, or express their thoughts in 
fewer words : " F. T. Palgrave. 


Not found in W. He reviews the past, and is happy 
in thinking of his coming priesthood. 

Metre : 

Unique, but closely resembles that of The Pil- 
grimage, V, 237. Vaughan has imitated it in his 
I Walked the Other Day, and in The Sap. 

Subject : 

Peace is sought first in solitude, next in beauty, then 
in high station, and only at the last in the service 
of God. Yet nothing can bring peace except that 
bread which came down from heaven. 

Notes : 

5. The very emptiness of withdrawal from the world 

denies him peace. 
12. Beauty proves unsubstantial. 
17. So Church-Rents and Schismes, V, 105, 1. 5. 
Envy attends eminence. 



Sweet Peace, where dost thou dwell ? I humbly 

Let me once know. 
I sought thee in a secret cave, 

And ask'd if Peace were there. 
A hollow winde did seem to answer, No: 5 

Go seek elsewhere. * 

I did, and going did a rainbow note. 

Surely, thought I, 
This is the lace of Peace's coat, 

I will search out the matter. 10 

But while I lookt, the clouds immediately 
Did break and scatter. 

Then went I to a garden and did spy 
A gallant flower. 
The crown Imperiall. Sure, said I, 15 

Peace at the root must dwell. 
But when I digg'd, I saw a worm devoure 
What show'd so well. 

174 PEACE 

19. One who had had experiences like my own. 

22. Hebrews vii, 2. 

23. Salem or Jerusalem, "the home of peace," is 
thought of as the chief city in the life of Christ; cf . 
Psalm Ixxvi, 2. 

28. The twelve Apostles, through whom the bread of 
life is given. They appear as twelve suns in Whit- 
sunday, III, 159, 1. 15. 

35. This final inner secrecy is contrasted with the outer 
secrecy at first sought in 1. 3. 

37. My garden. Perhaps the rev'rend good old man of 
' 1. 19 is St. Peter. Or may it be the friend of Love 
Unknown, V, 181, 1. 43, and possibly of The Pil- 
grimage, V, 237, 1. 17? A sketch of this poem 
appears in An Offering, stanza iv, IV, 191. 

42. Psalm cxix, 165. 


At length I met a rev'rend good old man. 

Whom when for Peace 20 
I did demand, he thus began : 
There was a Prince of old 
At Salem dwelt, who liv'd with good increase 
Of flock and fold. 

He sweetly liv'd, yet sweetnesse did not save 25 
His life from foes. 
But after death out of his grave 

There sprang twelve stalks of wheat ; 
Which many wondring at, got some of those 

To plant and set. 30 

It prosper'd strangely and did soon disperse 
Through all the earth; 
For they that taste it do rehearse 
That vertue Hes therein, 
A secret vertue bringing peace and mirth 35 

By flight of sinne. 

Take of this grain, which in my garden grows 
And grows for you. 
Make bread of it; and that repose 

And peace which ev'rywhere 40 

With so much eamestnesse you do pursue 
Is onely there. 



That for which all else should be exchanged. Cf. 
the Book of Wisdom vii, 17-23, ajid Job xxviii, 18. 


Found in W. He decides on the priesthood. 




For Thee, I gladly resign Learning, Honour, and 
Pleasure, — whose full significance I know. "For 
his unforc'd choice to serve at God's Altar he 
seems in The Pearl to rejoyce:" Walton's Life. 


2. "I have a feeling that Herbert intends a quibble 
here between the printing press and some other, 
such as a wine or olive press. I don't know what 
kind of press would be fed by a head (i. e. fount) 
and pipes, but there may be some confusion. In 
Zechariah's vision the lamps are fed by pipes from 
the olive trees:" H. C. Beeching. Conducting- 
pipes are mentioned in Whitsunday, III, 159, 
1. 17-18, and The Water-Course, V, 147, 1. 6. 

3. The branches of learning successively mentioned 
are Mathematics, Ethics, Jurisprudence, Astrology, 
The Natural Sciences, Alchemy, Geography. 

6. Forc'd. Avarice, V, 113, 1. 9. 

8; ''Stock and surplus may be the learning we in- 
herit, and that which we add to it : " H. C. Beech- 




I KNOW the wayes of learning, both the head 

And pipes that feed the presse, and make it 
runne ; 
What reason hath from nature borrowed, 

Or of it self, Uke a good huswife, spunne 4 
In laws and policie; what the starres conspire; 
What willing nature speaks, what forc'd by fire; 

Both th' old discoveries and the new-found seas. 
The stock and surplus, cause and historic; 

All these stand open, or I have the keyes; 

Yet I love thee. .^ 10 

I know the wayes of honour, what maintains 

The quick returns of courtesie and wit; 
In vies of favours whether partie gains 

When glorie swells the heart, and moldeth it 
To all expressions both of hand and eye, 15 

Which on the world a true-love-knot may tie, 

And bear the bundle wheresoe're it goes; 
How many drammes of spirit there must be 

To sell my Ufe unto my friends or foes; 

Yet I love thee. 20 


13. Whether= which, one of two. "I know how to gauge 
by the rules of courtesy who wins in a contest of do- 
ing favors; when each party is urged by ambition 
to do all he can by look or deed to win the world 
and bind it on his back : " H. C. Beeching. 

19. He sells his life to his friends in such drinking-bouts 
as are described in The Church-Porch, stanzas 
vii and viii; and to his foes in the duel. 

25. Twentie, i. e. going back to the beginning of West- 
ern civilization, to the days of Greece and Rome. 

26. Unbridled 5iore= unhampered wealth. 
29. A single will is pitted against five senses. 

32. Sealed is the technical term for closing the eyes of 
a hawk. So The Church-Porch, III, 63, 1. 415. 

34. " The terms of the exchange, and the nature of the 
things exchanged (learning, etc.) are well under- 
stood by the poet; yet it is not his wisdom, but 
God's guidance, that has prompted the surren- 
der:'* H. C. Beeching. 

35. Rate and price. The phrase is repeated from The 
Church-Porch, HI, 15, 1. 2. 

38. Perhaps an allusion to Ariadne's silken clue by 
which Theseus passed the Labyrinth. But classical 
allusions are rare in Herbert. A clue is again men- 
tioned in The Church-Porch, IH, 29, 1. 124. 

40. The same ending as Mattens, IV, 81. 


I know the wayes of pleasure, the sweet strains, 

The lullings and the relishes of it; 
The propositions of hot bloud and brains; 

What mirth and musick mean ; what love and wit 
Have done these twentie hundred yeares and more; 
I know the projects of unbridled* store; 26 

My stuffe is flesh, not brasse; my senses live, 
And grumble oft that they have more in me 

Then he that curbs them, being but one to G.\e; 
Yet I love thee. 30 

I know all these and have them in my hand; 

Therefore not sealed but with open eyes 
I flie to thee, and fully understand 

Both the main sale and the commodities; 
And at what rate and price I have thy love, 35 
With all the circumstances that may move. 

Yet through the labyrinths, not my groveling wit, 
But thy silk twist let down from heav'n to me 

Did both conduct and teach me how by it 

To climbe to thee. 40 


Introductory : 

The legal character of this poem recalls Donne's 
Will, and Quarles' Last Will in his Divine Fancies, 
iv, 67. The Elizabethan love-poets often amused 
themselves with legal terms. So Shakespeare, 
Sonnet LXXXVII and CXXXIV; and Donne, 
Satire II, 1. 47-57. Sir John Davies, Gulling Son- 
nets, VIII, ridicules the fashion. 

Date : / 

Found in W. This poem marks the formal end- 
ing of Herbert's long-deferred decision to enter 
the priesthood. 

Metre : 

Unique, though resembling The Size, V, 193. 


This is the covenant that I will make. Jeremiah 
xxxi, 33, and Hebrews x, 16. For Herbert's ac 
quaintance with Law, see The Country Parson 

13. This=\his deed or conveyance, 1. 10. 

17. 2 Thessalonians i, 11. 

18. This line has parallels in the second stanza of 
The Elixer, III, 99, Providence, V, 81, 1. 32, 
and The Church Militant, VI, 119, 1. 8. 



My God, if writings may 
Convey a Lordship any way 
Whither the buyer and the seller please, 
Let it not thee displease 
If this poore paper do as much as they. 5 

On it my heart doth bleed 
As many lines as there doth need 
To passe it self and all it hath to thee; 
To which I do agree. 
And here present it as my speciall deed. 10 

If that hereafter Pleasure 
Cavill, and claim her part and measure. 
As if this passed with a reservation. 

Or some such words in fashion, 14 

I here exclude the wrangler from thy treasure. 

O let thy sacred will 
All thy deUght in me fulfill! 
Let me not think an action mine own way, 
But as thy love shall sway. 
Resigning up the rudder to thy skill. 20 


21. Psalm viii, 4. In this and the preceding stanza, the 
legal terminology is for the moment dropped. 

22. Cf. Man, IV, 13, 1. 8. 

25. The thought is repeated in Submission, V, 205, 

1. 19. 
28. So Dotage, V, 137, 1. 7. 
30. Or if we did attempt to take, might be withstood. 

33. Where in the deed, i. e. 1. 10. 

34. A line clumsy in rhythm is so rare in Herbert that I 
suspect this should read, 0/ gift or a donation. 

40. To both our goods =io the advantage of us both. 

41-45. What if some like-minded man, reading my 
deed, should put hand and heart to a similar deed 
of his own! How blessed to have the angels enter 
our covenants in the celestial archives together! 


Lord, what is man to thee, 
That thou shouldst minde a rotten tree ? 
Yet since thou canst not choose but see my actions, 
So great are thy perfections, 24 

Thou mayst as well my actions guide, as see. 

Besides, thy death and bloud 
Show'd a strange love to all our good. 
Thy sorrows were in earnest; no faint profiFer, 

Or superficiall offer 29 

Of what we might not take, or be withstood. 

Wherefore I all forego. 
To one word onely I say. No: 
Where in the deed there was an intimation 
Of a gift or donation. 
Lord, let it now by way of purchase go. 35 

He that will passe his land. 
As I have mine, may set his hand 
And heart unto this deed, when he hath read, 
And make the purchase spread 
To both our goods, if he to it will stand. 40 

How happie were my part 
If some kinde man would thrust his heart 
Into these Hues; till in heav'ns court of rolls 
They were by winged souls 
Entred for both, farre above their desert! 45 


Intboductory : 

" We have had many blessed patterns of a holy life in 
the British Church, though now trodden under foot 
and branded with the name of Antichristian. I 
shall propose but one to you, the most obedient son 
that ever his Mother had, and yet a most glorious 
true Saint and a seer. Hark how like a busy bee 
he hymns it to the flowers, while in a handful of 
blossoms gathered by himself he foresees his own 
dissolution:" H. Vaughan, Man in Darkness. 


Not found in W. Herbert's reply to those who con- 
demned his decision. 


Used also in The Call, V, 9. 


In alluring objects — pleasures or roses — we 
must consider ultimate effects. 

Notes : 

2. Sugred lies. The phrase is repeated in Dulnesse, 

V, 209, 1. 21. 
4. What this is, is explained in The Size, V, 193. ^ 
12. Cf. Obedience, IV, 181, 1. 8. 



Presse me not to take more pleasure 
In this world of sugred lies, 

And to use a larger measure 

Then my strict, yet welcome size. 

First, there is no pleasure here; 5 

Colour'd griefs indeed there are. 

Blushing woes, that look as cleare 
As if they could beautie spare. 

Or if such deceits there be, 

Such dehghts I meant to say, 10 

There are no such things to me. 

Who have pass'd my right away. 

But I will not much oppose 
Unto what you now advise, 

Onely take this gentle rose, 15 

And therein my answer lies. 


18. Cf. Providence, V, 87, 1. 78, and Life, VI, 81, 

19, 20. Its purgative effect reveals the rose as our beau- 
tiful enemy and inclines us thereafter to avoid it. 
So should the repentance induced by pleasure 
cause antipathy (1. 28). 

23. 7;^= the summary of all that is sought by lovers of 

beauty and fragrance. 
29. And therefore I do not take pleasures. 

31. FairZ2/= beautifully, gracefully, with no bitterness. 

32. This is the fourth stanza in which rose is rhymed. 


What is fairer then a rose ? 

What is sweeter ? Yet it purgeth. 
Purgings enmitie disclose, 

Enroitie forbearance urgeth. 20 

If then all that worldlings prize 

Be contracted to a rose. 
Sweetly there indeed it hes. 

But it biteth in the close. 

So this flower doth judge and sentence 26 
Worldly joyes to be a scourge; 

For they all produce repentance. 
And repentance is a purge. 

But I health, not physick choose. 

Onely though I you oppose, 30 

Say that fairly I refuse. 

For my answer is a rose. 



Not found in W. He wonders whether he is whole- 
hearted enough for the priesthood. There is similar- 
ity between this and Love Unknown, V, 179. 

Metre : 

Unique, but differs only in rhyming system from 
The Chuech-Porch, III, 15; Jordan, III, 91; 
Church - Monuments, III, 201; and Sinnes 
Round, V, 143. The metre of the song is unique. 

Subject : 

A gift should be clean and whole. Only He to whom 
I give it can render my heart such. 


2. If God gave gifts to us as slowly as we, in our folly, 

bring gifts to Him, what would become of us! 
7-10. Since thy gifts are many, I could wish that my gift 
of a heart were many too. Perhaps it may prove so; 
for as a good priest, I may be fruitful and bring thee 
many hearts. Cf . Obedience, IV, 183, 1. 42. Pos- 
sibly Herbert here plays also on the old mathemati- 
cal opinion which regarded the number one as not 
itself a true number, but only the general form or 
scheme of unity underlying all numbers. To this 
opinion Shakespeare alludes in Sonnet CXXXVI : 
"Among a number one is reckoned none." Her- 
bert urges that under suitable circumstances one 
might deserve to be entitled a number. 



Come, bring thy gift. If blessings were as slow 
As men's returns, what would become of fools ? 
What hast thou there ? A heart ? But is it 
Search well and see, for hearts have many holes. 
Yet one pure heart is nothing to bestow. 5 

In Christ two natures met to be thy cure. 

O that within us hearts had propagation. 
Since many gifts do challenge many hearts! 

Yet one, if good, may title to a number, 
And single things grow fruitfuU by deserts. 10 
In pubhck judgements one may be a nation 

And fence a plague, while others sleep and 

But all I fear is lest thy heart displease, 
As neither good nor one. So oft divisions 

Thy lusts have made, and not thy lusts alone; 
Thy passions also have their set partitions. 16 
These parcell out thy heart. Recover these. 
And thou mayst offer many gifts in one. 


11. When puhlick judgements are about to fall, a single 
man may stand for a whole nation, — like Lot or 
David, — and while the rest are asleep may save his 
people from calamity. 

12. The plague or infection was in Herbert's time a 
constant menace. In 1630 most of the Cambridge 
colleges were closed on account of its ravages. Her- 
bert alludes to it elsewhere in the Chubch-Poech, 
III, 43, 1. 249, and perhaps in Miserie, IV, 49, 

13. Thy=ixry. He addresses himself. 
17. Parcell out. So Love, III, 83, 1. 3. 

22. All-heal. " The mistletoe was so called by the 
Druids on account of its medicinal quaUties:*' 
H. R. Waller. — The figure is worked out at length 
in Peace, IV, 173. Cf. also Faith, IV, 29, 1. 9. 

33. Even when purified, the gift is slight. 

37, 38. Same rhyme as in Dialogue, IV, 167, 1. 18, 20. 


There is a balsome, or indeed a bloud, 

Dropping from heav'n, which doth both cleanse 
and close 20 

All sorts of wounds; of such strange force 
it is. 
Seek out this All-heal, and seek no repose 
Untill thou finde and use it to thy good. 

Then bring thy gift, and let thy hymne be 

Since my sadnesse 25 

Into gladnesse 
Lord thou dost convert, 

O accept 

What thou hast kept, 
As thy due desert. 30 

Had I maiiy, 

Had I any, 
(For this heart i^ none) 

All were thine 

And none of mine, 35 

Surely thine alone. 

Yet thy favour 

May give savour 
To this poore oblation; 

And it raise 40 

To be thy praise. 
And be my salvation. 


Introductory : 

Two other poems with this title are given, III, 95, 
V, 45. This poem has been imitated by Vaughan 
in his Praise. 


Not found in W. Written at a crisis period, per- 
haps after recovery from his long illness and just 
before his marriage. 


Unique . With the exception of the sixth, the stanzas 
have alternate refrains of thee and me. 

Subject : 

Gladness in being at last accepted by God. In imi- 
tation of Psalm cxvi. 

Notes : 

1. Psalm xxiv, 8; Isaiah ix, 6. Also L'Envoy, VI, 
141, 1. 1. 



King of Glorie, King of Peace, 

I will love thee. 
And that love may never cease 

I will move thee. 

Thou hast granted my request, 5 

Thou hast heard me. 

Thou didst note my working breast, 
Thou hast spared me. 

Wherefore with my utmost art 

I will sing thee. 10 

And the cream of all my heart 

I will bring thee. 

Though my sinnes against me cried. 
Thou didst cleare me. 

And alone, when they replied, 15 

Thou didst heare me. 


4. Move=pTes3, urge, as in The Method, V, 197, 

17. Cf. The Sinner, IV, 91, 1. 3. 
19. "*I can give thee a higher place in my affections;* 

then the poet, perhaps for rhyme's sake, adds the 

irrelevant, *I cannot, of course, give Thee a higher 

place in heaven:' " H. C. Beeching. 
21. Luke xix. 41. 
26. Enroll=p}ii thee into my pages. 


Sev'n whole dayes, not one in seven, 

I will praise thee. 
In my heart, though not in heaven, 

I can raise thee. 20 

Thou grew'st soft and moist with tears, 

Thou relentedst; 
And when Justice calFd for fears 

Thou dissentedst. 

Small it is in this poore sort 25 

To enroll thee. 
Ev'n etemitie is too short 

To extoU thee. 

196 LOVE 

Introductory : 

Two other poems with this title are given, III, 83, 
VI, 147. 

Found in W. Entering God's service, he feels him- 
self abashed. 
Metre : 

Subject : 

Love's welcome to the timid guest. 
Notes : 

2. Matthew xxii, 12. 
7. 1 lack being a worthy guest. 
12. Psalm xciv, 9. 

15. 2 Corinthians v. 21. 

16. The answer of the guest, as in 1. 9. 



Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back, 
Guiltie of dust and sinne. 

But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack 
From my first entrance in, 

Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning 5 

If I lack'd any thing. 

A guest, I answer'd, worthy to be here. 

Love said, You shall be he. 
I, the unkinde, ungratefuU ? Ah my deare, 

I cannot look on thee. 10 

Love took my hand and smiKng did reply. 

Who made the eyes but I ? 

Truth Lord, but I have marr'd them; let my 

Go where it doth deserve. 
And know you not, sayes Love, who bore the 
blame ? 15 

My deare, then I will serve. 
You must sit down, sayes Love, and taste my 

So I did sit and eat. 

Edingdon Churchy Wiltshire^ where in 1629 Herbert married Jane 
Dancers. See Vol. /, p. S7. 



Charms and Knots (p. 7) : 

2. For ill W. reads sore. 

3. For this line and the next W. reads: 

A poore mans rod if thou wilt hire. 
Thy horse shot never fall or tire. 

7. For doth W. reads does. 

8. For this line W. reads: 

Doubles the night and trips by day. 

10. For head W. reads hart. 

11. The order of this and the following couplet is re- 
versed in W. 

14. For doth W. reads does. 
16. For this line W. reads: 

Ten if a sermon goe for gains. 
Before this couplet W. inserts this: 

Who turnes a trencher setteth free 
A prisoner crusht with gluttonie. 

And after it these: 

The world thinks all things bigg and tall; 
Grace turnes the opticJc, then they fall. 

A falling starr has lost his place; 
The courtier getts it that has grace. 

In small draughts heaven does shine and dwell ; 
Who dives on further may find Hell. 


Man (p. 11): 
2. For none doth build W. reads no man builds. 
8. For no W. reads more. 
20. For hath W. reads has. 
26. For this line W. reads : 

Earth resteth, heaven moveth, fountains flow. 

41. For Hath one such W. reads If one have. 
53. For serves B. reads serve. 
53-54. In W. these lines read: 

That as the world to us is kind and free. 
So we may bee to Thee. 

The World (p. 21): 
10. For Reformed all at length W. reads Quickly re- 
formed all. 
14. For inward W. reads inner. 
19. For Grace took W. reads took Grace and. 
SiNNE (p. 27) : 

7. For strategems W. reads casualties. 
13-14. For these two lines W. reads: 

Yet all these fences with one bosome sinn, 
Are blown away, as if they neer had bin. 

Faith (p. 29) : 

15-16. For these two lines W. reads: 

with no new score 
My creditour beleev'd so too. 

19. For placeth W. reads places. 
24. For this line W. reads : 

My nature on him with the danger. 
31. For bend W. reads bow. 


35. For impute W. reads impart, erased. 

36. For And in this shew W. reads This shadows out. 

Redemption (p. 33) : 
10-11. For these lines W,. reads: 

Sought him in cities, theatres, resorts. 
In grottos, gardens, palaces and courts. 

But these Knes are then erased and the ordinary 
reading substituted. 
Ungratefulnesse (p. 39): 
7. For this line W. reads: 

Thou hadst but two rich cabinets of treasure. 

9. For unlocJd them W. reads laid open. 
16. For fully to us W. reads to us fully. 
18. For that W. reads this. 
23. For box B. reads bone. 

Miserie (p. 47) : 

" 3. For all W. reads out. 

21. For scanned W. reads stand. 

28. For vdng W. reads wings. 

39. For So our B. reads Some. 

44. For this and the following lines of this stanza W. 
reads : 

And feed the swine with all his mind and might : 

For this he wondrous well doth know 
They will be hind, and all his pains requite. 
Making him free 
Of that good companie. 

51. For pulVst the rug W. reads lyest warme. 


65, 66. For these two lines W. reads: 

All wretched man. 
Who may thy follies span ? 

75. For the W. and B. read a. 
Mortification (p. 55) : 
1. For doth W. reads does. 

30. For house W. reads place. 
Death (p. 59) : 

16. For sought W. reads long'd. 
Dooms-Day (p. 63) : 

21. For bodie W. reads bodies. 
Heaven (p. 69): 

5. For trees W. reads woods. 
7. For that W. reads which. 
Mattens (p. 81) : 
12. W. omits that. 
The Thanksgiving (p. 83) : 

1. For Oh King of grief W. reads King of all grief. 
3. For Oh King of wounds W. reads King of all 

11. For skipping thy dolefull W. reads neglecting thy sad. 
20. For by W. reads in. 

22. For The W. reads That. 

26. For thence W. reads out. 

27. For I give W. reads Vie give. 

34. For mine W. reads my. 

35. For / will W. reads will I. 
45. For 

never move 
Till I have found therein thy love. 


W. reads: 

never linn 
Till I have found thy love therein. 

The Reprisall (p. 89) : 

2. For dealing W. reads medling. 
14. For the W. and B. read thy. 
The Sinner (p. 91): 

11. For hundredth W. and B. read hundred. 
Deniall (p. 93) : 
13. For hnees and heart in W. reads hart and knees 

in a. 
20. For But W. reads Yet. 

29. For minde W. reads soule. 

30. For mend W. reads meet. 
Church-Lock and Key (p. 97) : 

1. For locks W. reads stops. 

5. For But W. reads Yet. In W. anew verse is inserted 
between the first two here given: 

If either Innocence or Fervende 

Did play their part. 
Armies of blessings would contend and vye. 
Which of them soonest should attaine my heart. 

6. For And mend W. reads Mending. 
9. For this last stanza W. reads: 

O make mee wholy guiltles, or at least 

Guiltles so farr. 
Thai zele and purenes circling my request 
May guard it safe beyond the highest starr. 

Nature (p. 99) : 

9. For turn W. reads be alL but it is erased. 


Repentance (p. 101) : 

3. For momentanie B. and W. read momentarie. 
9-10. For these two lines W. reads: 

Looking on this side and beyond lis all ; 
We are born old. 

28-30. For these three lines W. reads 

Melt and consume 
To smoke and fume. 
Fretting to death our other parts. 

Unkindnesse (p. 105) : 

8. For blasted W. reads darkned. 
Grace (p. 107): 

5. For this line W. reads: 

If the sunn still should hide his face. 
Thy great house would a dungeon prove. 

13-16. This stanza is wanting in W. 

17. The next stanzas which is cancelled, reads: 

What if I say thou seekst delays. 
Wilt thou not then my fault reprove ? 
Prevent my sin to thine own praise 
Drop from above. 

The Temper (p. Ill): 

5. For some fourtie W. reads a hundred. 
25. For flie with angels, fall with W. reads angell it or 
fall to. 
Easter Wings (p. 131): 

8. For harmoniously W. reads do by degree. 

9. For victories W. reads sacrifice. 
10. For the first the W. reads my. 


12. For And still W. reads Yet them. 

13. For Th<m W. reads Daily. 

14. For That W. reads Till. These five readings are 
then erased and the ordinary text is given. 

18. W. omits this day. 
Affliction (p. 135) : 

6. For gracious benefits W. reads grocers 'perquisites. 

7, 8. For fine W. reads rich. 

9, 10. For entwine, etc., W. reads: 

Into thy jamilie. 

15. 16. For my thoughts, etc., W. reads: 

I was preserved 
Before that I could feare. 

23. For sorrow W. reads sorrows. 
29. For I scarce beleeved W. reads: 

1 did not know 
That I did live but by a pang of woe. 

47. For neare W. reads where. In B. where is also 

written above the line. 
58. For should B. reads could. 
65. For God W. reads King. 
Employment (p. 143) : 
23, 24. For these lines W. reads: 

Lord, that I may the sunrCs perfection gaine 
Give mee his speed. 

Content (p. 149) : 

6. For or W. reads and. 

7. For doth W. reads does. 


9. For -jiiTds W. reads fiird. 
30. For 'pens W. reads pen. 
Frailtie (p. 155) : 

6-7. For these two lines W. reads: 

Misuse them all the day, 
And ever as I walk, my foot doth tredd. 

16. For And prick W. reads Troubling, but it is erased. 

17. For what even now W. reads that which just now. 

Artillerie (p. 157) : 

2. For Me thoughts B. reads methought. 
The Pearl (p. 177): 

3. For borrowed W. reads purchased. 

22. For lullings W. reads gustos, but erased. 

25. For twentie W. reads many, but erased. 

26. For unbridled B. reads unbundled. 
26-29. For these four lines W. reads: 

Where both their baskets are with all their store. 
The smacks of dainties and their exaltation: 
What both the stops and pegs of pleasure bee. 
The joyes of company or contemplation. 

But the first three lines are then erased. 
32. For sealed W. reads seeled. 

37. For the W. and B. read these. 
Obedience (p. 181): 

7. For there doth W. reads it does. 

8. For hath W. reads has. 

15. For exclude W. reads shutt out. 

38. For hath W. reads doth.